A heat pump can cool your home in 100-plus-degree weather. And, it provides warmth even when the outdoor temperature is as low as negative 13 degrees. For Elgin, IL, that means air conditioning is no problem. For heating, you may want to consider a hybrid model.
Thanks to some big leaps in technology over the last twenty years, heat pumps are now usable in the Fox River Valley.
These heating and cooling systems have always been very energy-efficient. But, their first few generations weren’t powerful enough for Chicagoland winters.
However, that’s changing — and homeowners in Elgin, East Dundee, and other towns can enjoy excellent heating and cooling with much lower energy bills.
These systems can be a huge step toward energy independence for your home — if you get the right setup.
In this article, we’ll briefly go over how heat pumps work. Then, we’ll talk about mini splits — the configuration where you most often see heat pumps.
Finally, we’ll touch on how hybrid models can get you a lot closer to energy independence without worrying about freezing during the coldest winter days.
Meanwhile, if you have any questions, or want to learn more about efficiency and energy independence for your home in Elgin, Il, call or email Compass for a free consultation.
Heat pumps don’t burn fossil fuels to generate warmth the way traditional HVAC systems do. Instead, they use a heat transfer process that moves thermal energy from one place to another. It’s quiet, effective, and uses far, far less energy than conventional sources.
By now, you’ve probably seen heat pumps outside some businesses or homes THey sort of look like air conditioner condensers, only they’re skinnier, and the fans are on the side.
In the summer, a heat pump works similarly to your air conditioning.
The heat from the house reaches the pump. The pump transfers that heat outside. That leaves the air inside much cooler.
(We’ll get into how the coolant travels later in this article).
The winter is where it gets interesting: The heat pump draws in thermal energy from outside and sends it inside to heat your house.
But wait! It’s cold out! What heat is the pump using?
That’s a great question — and one of the reasons these appliances took so long to catch on in Illinois.
The trick here is that there is always some heat outside, even if it’s cold out. The heat pump makes the most of what little thermal energy is available. It uses a compression process to amplify it until there’s enough to warm your house.
That’s where the better technology comes in handy: Over the years, these appliances have become able to work in colder and colder temperatures.
Before we get into how to deal with Chicagoland winters, however, we’ll talk about the most common setup in Elgin, IL homes
The most common application for heat pumps in Elgin, IL is in a mini split system. That’s when you combine the outdoor unit with air handlers inside.
The air handlers circulate the air in the rooms where you install the units. Depending on what you want, you can go with a single-zone setup for one problem room, up to a multi-zone design covering the entire house.
This is also called ductless heating and cooling. It gets that name because they don’t use ductwork and vents.
Instead, a refrigerant liquid travels from the pump to the air handlers in small, flexible piping that runs behind your walls. That refrigerant carries the heat back and forth
Now that you know how heat pumps work and what they’ll look like in your house, let’s get back to that earlier question: How do you keep your home warm during the coldest days the Fox River Valley throws at you?
The truth is, we’ve had quite a few spells over the last few years where it was too cold for a heat pump to do the job. And that’s a real shame.
Apart from just a few days out of the year, people with these systems enjoyed fantastic home comfort while getting closer to going off the grid
That’s where Daikin VRV Life comes in. Daikin uses the mini split setup, but their VRV Life series also uses a backup gas furnace.
Now, the majority of the time, you’re using the heat pump. But, for those few instances where it’s too cold for the heat transfer process, the gas furnace kicks on.
You’re still getting that energy-efficiency with the mini split. But, you know that you’ll never go without heat, even if it gets as cold as negative 23 like it did in 2019.
If you want to learn more about how you can achieve energy independence while still enjoying top-notch heating and cooling for your Elgin, IL home, call or email us here at Compass Heating and Air.
Starting with a free consultation, we’ll help you choose and design a system that’s just right for your values and your home.