Heat Pump | Heat Pump Question?
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Heat Pump | Heat Pump Question?

I am wondering about heat pumps how they work and the approximate size I need to install in a home 2 floors 1000 sq. ft per floor 2000 total square footage. Has Fantastic insulation and all Andersen thermal pane low E double glazed windows. Finally a place near Chicago where I can get one reasonably priced… Thanks!

Heat pumps heat and cool (usually to parts but can be a package unit) there is a condenser outside and an air handler (the part that has the blower and evaporator coil) inside. In summer the heat pump cools inside by the Freon (refrigerant) in the coils absorbing and removing the heat from the inside house while the blower moves air over the coil & through the ducts in your house. The hot Freon returns to the condenser through the refrigerant lines where it is cooled in the condenser coils and pumped back into the house by the compressor. In the winter the reversing valve switches the flow of Freon and it pulls heat from outside and heats your house with it. I think that in your climate, it is way too cold to work without a back up heater – probally cheaper to go with a gas furnace & straght a/c. The formula to use for tonnage is 500 sqare feet per ton so for a 2,000 sq ft house around 4 tons, but for a two story, you are going to want something with a good zone control (you don’t want to freeze on the 1st floor & boil on the 2nd)What kind of system do you have now?


A heat pump is not good for the Midwest. they are better suited for warmer areas, like Florida. a heat pump has a reversing valve the reverses the flow of freon, so on a chilly day, say 40’s, your air conditioning the outside, literally.

below freezing, good old heating elements kick in, just like an electric furnace.

After you have a heat cool gain/loss analysis done on your home it will probably work out to either a 31/2 or 4 ton single unit for the whole house or a 2 ton for downstairs and a 2 ton for upstairs…a heat pump will not heat your home well if you have a lot of days below 25 degrees…once the temp drops below 32 degrees it will be using electric heating strips to assist it in heating your home….a heat pump is a central air unit with a reversing valve that cools the inside of your home in the summer and cools the outside during the winter..it could cost as much to heat your home with a heat pump as it would with fuel oil or natural gas if you live in the northern 2/3rds of illinois…

Chicago is too cold for a heat pump. In cold outdoor weather, the heat pump cycle becomes too inefficient and you have to rely on the backup electric heating coil in your indoor unit.

With electricity going way up, you’re way better off with a gas furnace.

In warm climate, heat pumps are OK. But not in Chicago.

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