With federal, state and local legislators working hard to minimize carbon emissions, upgrading to a heat pump is an excellent way to stay on top of current and future requirements. It’s also a great way to lower your home energy bills. However, a smaller carbon footprint and ongoing savings aren’t the only benefits that you’ll enjoy when switching to one of these highly efficient systems. Whether ducted or duct-free, a heat pump can have a remarkable impact on the indoor air quality (IAQ) in your Anaheim, CA home. Read on to find out how.
Heat Pumps Don’t Produce Carbon Monoxide Gas
With any fuel-burning heating system, you run the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) exposure. CO poisoning can result in headaches, confusion, nausea, chest pain, and many other serious physical symptoms. If prolonged, CO exposure can even result in death.
When gas-fired and oil-fired furnaces combust fuel, they do so incompletely. CO is but one of the numerous exhaust gases that are produced as the result of incomplete fuel combustion. Although fuel-burning furnaces have venting systems that route these gases outdoors, there’s always a small amount that escapes. These residual gases can have a marked impact on your IAQ, even when they aren’t present in sufficient amounts for triggering your CO alarms.
Comparatively, heat pumps don’t burn any fuel to get their job done. Instead, these units merely source heat from one location and then bring it to another. In winter, they transfer outside heat into the building. In late spring and summer, they harness indoor heat and route it outdoors. Given that no oil or gas is combusted during this process, there’s no worry of CO poisoning and no fear of being exposed to CO or other exhaust gases in limited but continuous amounts.
It’s also important to consider the quality of the outdoor air near your furnace’s venting system. The same vents that are releasing harmful exhaust gases outdoors for your protection, could be located near a side door, garage door, or window. When you open your windows and doors to let fresh air flow into your home, you may be letting these same gases back in as well. By eliminating exhaust gases entirely through the removal of fuel-burning heating appliances, you can eliminate this risk too.
Heat Pumps Offer Humidity Control
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends maintaining indoor humidity levels between just 30 and 50%. In homes with functional air conditioners, this is relatively easy to do in summer given that AC units can extract excess moisture during each cooling cycle. However, if you don’t have an air conditioner, switching to a heat pump for home heating will provide humidity control IAQ benefits. Unlike furnaces, heat pumps can regulate indoor humidity. Moreover, many modern heat pumps are better at regulating indoor humidity than most air conditioners. This attribute can be especially helpful during the cold season when residents are spending more of their time indoors, multiple people are taking long showers and baths, and steamy cooking projects abound.
Maintaining moderate levels of humidity inside your home is an important step in preventing and curbing mold formation. With less moisture, you’ll have a lower likelihood of developing mold on your drywall, windowsills, and other indoor surfaces. Humidity control also plays a hand in limiting mildew development and the spread of harmful bacteria and other biological pathogens. It does so by reducing the concentrations of these pollutants in the air.
Heat Pumps Don’t Have to Be Ducted
Ductless mini splits have had a major impact on how consumers heat and cool their homes. Ductless mini-split heat pumps can be installed in buildings that lack traditional HVAC ductwork and without the need for major building modifications. With these installations, each room or zone has its own thermostat and indoor air handler. Each air handling unit has its own filter, and each can be controlled independently of the others. All air handlers are connected to the outdoor heat pump condenser via refrigerant tubes and electrical wires that are passed through a single, three-inch hole.
This setup eliminates many of the airborne contaminants that are known to exacerbate asthma, allergies, and other chronic respiratory conditions. Rather than passing through long channels of dusty ductwork, conditioned air is distributed right from its source. While ducted systems regularly circulate and recirculate dirt, pet dander, pollen, and countless other particulates that have been collected in HVAC ducting, ductless mini splits do not. This setup additionally eliminates all the IAQ concerns that come with ragged, torn ducting, along with the need to have HVAC ductwork professionally maintained and cleaned. Given that HVAC air ducts can be responsible for a significant amount of energy loss in many homes, a ductless mini-split heat pump will supply the added benefit of lower operating costs.
Heat Pump Filter Changes Are Easy
Both ducted and ductless heat pumps come with easy-to-change filters. Best of all, just as you can with other HVAC equipment types, you can upgrade from the standard filter or filters that came with your heat pump to one with a higher maximum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating. Many standard heat pump air filters can remove dirt, dust, dust mites, dander, and various microbes. Many modern heat pumps can also be fitted with ionic filters, high-efficiency particulate absorbing (HEPA) filters, or plasma filters according to your needs for air purity and overall air distribution.
It’s important to note that just as they are in heaters and air conditioners, the filters that come as standard in many heat pumps are primarily designed to protect the heat pumps themselves. Thus, if you want optimum levels of air filtration, you should upgrade your heat pump filter, use your heat pump as part of a multi-pronged IAQ control plan, or both. You also have the option of choosing a heat pump that’s rated well for its air filtration capabilities.
Important Things to Know About Heat Pumps and Your Home’s IAQ
Heat pumps are largely designed with efficiency in mind. Although having a heat pump installed can drop your energy bills and have a positive effect on your home’s indoor air quality, this unit might be enough as a standalone solution to serious IAQ concerns. Moreover, in some cases, having a heat pump installed can resolve IAQ issues, but in others, it may create them. While air conditioners and fuel-burning furnaces are constantly bringing conditioned, outdoor air into buildings, heat pumps merely extract and transfer heat. This means that there’s less overall ventilation with these systems, and less of an opportunity to let stale indoor air out.
If you don’t currently have an air conditioner, a heat pump will provide the benefit of year-round heating, cooling, and humidity regulation. If you have an AC system but constantly have excess moisture indoors during the winter months, a heat pump can help with this as well. Ductless heat pumps are also great for homes that lack HVAC air ducts, haven’t had their air ducts replaced in more than 15 years, or constantly deal with air duct-related IAQ concerns.
We offer furnace, air conditioner, and heat pump installation, maintenance, and repair services. Residents of Anaheim, CA can also count on us for advanced indoor air quality solutions and ductless mini-split systems. If you’d like to learn more about the IAQ benefits of having a heat pump installed, call Sano Heating & Air Conditioning for a consultation appointment today.