The unique climate here in Las Vegas means that homeowners rely heavily on air conditioning but still need reliable and efficient heat in the winter. For most, this has historically meant buying a high-efficiency central air conditioner and a gas furnace. However, there’s a better, cheaper way to heat and cool your Las Vegas home. Heat pumps offer some of the most efficient cooling equipment you can purchase and are hands-down the most efficient heating solution. Here’s why heat pumps are the key to energy-efficient heating and cooling in Las Vegas.
What Is a Heat Pump?
To understand why heat pumps are such a great option for Las Vegas homes, you first need to know what they are and how they work. As their name suggests, a heat pump is a device that can move heat from one place to another. Unlike conventional heating systems, they don’t consume energy to produce heat.
Instead, they rely on the refrigeration cycle to do their work. In the summer, a heat pump sends low-pressure refrigerant through a coil inside your home while a fan blows the hot indoor air over the coil. That allows the refrigerant to absorb the heat, which it then carries outside so that the outdoor unit can expel it into the exterior environment. If that process sounds familiar, it should! It’s exactly how a conventional air conditioner works.
However, a heat pump can do something an air conditioner cannot. It contains a special valve that allows it to run its cycle in reverse. That means a heat pump can use its refrigerant to collect heat energy from the outside air in the winter and carry it indoors to heat your home. It’s a mode of operation that comes with some almost unbelievable efficiency advantages.
How Efficient Are Heat Pumps?
When discussing heat pump efficiency, it’s necessary to distinguish between their modes of operation. In cooling mode, heat pumps compare favorably with any central air conditioner you’ll encounter. As of today, the least efficient air conditioner you can buy has a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of 15. However, there are heat pumps on the market with SEER ratings as high as 33.1! In contrast, it’s difficult to find a conventional central AC system with a SEER rating higher than 26 on the market today. So, depending on what model heat pump you purchase, you won’t sacrifice any cooling efficiency compared to a conventional AC. On the contrary, you could gain a significant amount of efficiency if you’re willing to pay for it.
It’s in heating mode, however, where heat pumps truly shine. An air-source heat pump running in heating mode is by far the most efficient heating option besides a geothermal system. Under optimal conditions, an air-source heat pump can reach energy efficiency levels approaching 400%. That means they’ll provide your home with four units of heat for every unit of energy they consume. Their use of the refrigeration cycle is the secret to that efficiency. Since a heat pump collects already available heat energy from the outside air, there’s no direct trade-off between energy consumption and heat production. Therefore, the more efficiently the components of a heat pump can extract heat from the air, the higher their overall efficiency climbs.
That stands in stark contrast to a conventional heating system like a gas furnace. Those rely on combustion to produce heat. In such systems, you’re converting natural gas to heat, which implies a theoretical maximum efficiency that’s even possible. In the real world, you won’t find gas furnaces with efficiency levels any higher than 98.5%. This means today’s heat pumps can be up to four times as efficient as the best gas furnace you can buy.
For even more efficiency, you can opt for a ductless mini-split heat pump system. They offer flexible installation options and do away with the in-wall ductwork that central HVAC systems depend on. According to the EPA, ductwork energy losses can reduce the efficiency of a central HVAC by as much as 30%. Mini-splits also work quite well if you need to add efficient heating or cooling to parts of your home that don’t already have it. So, if you’re building an addition, for example, a mini-split can help you gain the advantages of a heat pump without replacing your home’s existing HVAC system.
Why Heat Pumps Are Perfect for Las Vegas
Of course, there are some situations when heat pumps aren’t the best option. For example, they’re not as efficient on extremely cold days. In general, a heat pump will lose enough efficiency at 25 degrees Fahrenheit or below to make a gas furnace a more efficient option. However, here in Las Vegas, we see an average of 10 or fewer days with below-freezing temperatures each year. And, the weather trends indicate we’ll see even fewer than that as the years go by.
This means the weather conditions here are well suited to heat pumps. It maximizes their strengths and minimizes any weaknesses. Plus, using a heat pump for your home’s climate control needs comes with another benefit. This change brings your home one step closer to full electrification. That would mean streamlining your home’s energy use and allowing you to do away with your natural gas account, which costs you money even in the summer when you’re not using any heat.
On top of all of that, the major energy companies here in the Las Vegas area offer incentive programs for homeowners who install ultra-efficient HVAC systems. There are also federal tax incentives that can substantially lower the cost of installing a new heat pump in your Las Vegas home. You can even pair a heat pump with a rooftop solar system to further reduce your home’s energy costs.
Your Local Heat Pump Experts
Since 2018, our team at Bumble Breeze has built a reputation for offering the finest HVAC services in the Las Vegas area. Plus, we’ve done so by offering our services at affordable prices. It’s because we’re a family-owned business that understands the needs of local residents. After all, we’re a part of the Las Vegas community too! We offer the latest in heat pump technology, and our expert HVAC technicians have the latest training. That means we’re qualified to install a new heat pump in your home and help you keep it working well for years.
Besides that, we also offer installation, repair, and maintenance services for all makes and models of HVAC systems. In addition, we provide indoor air quality services and a complete range of plumbing services. If you own a business in the area, keep in mind that we also handle commercial clients. And if you need help affording a new heat pump, we can arrange financing on approved credit.
So, if you’d like to install a heat pump and start taking advantage of its efficiency here in Las Vegas, call us at Bumble Breeze today!