What’s the best way to heat and cool a home? I know good windows and insulation are a must, but I’m still puzzled when it comes to heating/cooling systems. -Rob
There are a number of choices these days when it comes to heating and cooling your home. Standard air source heat pumps work well for warm to moderate climates, but they can become expensive to use for heat when the temperature drops below 35° F. That’s because they draw their heat from the air, causing backup electric heat strips to cut on for additional heat at lower temperatures. Heat pumps that use natural gas for supplemental heat or gas furnaces are a more efficient option in colder climates.
Since a geothermal heat pump uses the constant temperature of water pumped from a well as the medium of heat exchange, they work better at lower temperatures than air source heat pumps. While the initial cost of installation for a geothermal heat pump is more, it makes up the cost in energy saved in five to ten years.
In addition, the cost of installing an Energy Star approved geothermal heat pump is eligible for a 30% federal tax credit. Details are available on our website at Energy Efficiency Tax Credits for Homeowners.
While electricity is about the only game in town for air conditioning, you can reduce your cooling bill by turning up your thermostat and using the evaporative cooling effect of paddle fans during the hotter months.
A programmable thermostat is another way to make your existing HVAC system use less energy. Simply setting the control to turn the heat or air up when you’re home and down when you’re away can save up to 15% on your energy bill. Not bad for a DIY project that costs under $100!
Good luck with your project,