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Heat Pump Buyer’s Guide for Central Maine

heat pump buying guide for central maine

If you have become interested in adding heat pumps to your Central Maine home, you are not alone! Today’s heat pumps offer outstanding energy efficiency while providing heating and cooling that will keep your home comfortable all year round.

With expert heat pump installation and service by AFC’s team of licensed and skilled technicians and electricians, you can enjoy all that heat pumps bring to a home and have confidence in the quality of our work, as everything we do is backed up by the AFC Comfort Guarantee.

We are a Mitsubishi Diamond Contractor. Our team has undergone comprehensive training in heat pump installation and service as well as the latest advances in heat pump technology and how to put that to work for your home.

As you are researching heat pumps, you’ll see that there’s a lot of information out there. We’ve put together details about some of the most important topics so that you can make an informed choice.

Heat pump benefits

If you are looking to cut your energy costs and reduce your home’s environmental impact while improving your comfort, heat pumps are an outstanding choice and a great investment in your home’s comfort, energy efficiency and value for years to come!

  • You can dramatically cut your energy costs. According to Efficiency Maine, using ductless heat pumps to heat your home is about a third of the cost of electric baseboard heating and costs much less than heating systems using oil, propane or natural gas.
  • If your home doesn’t have ductwork, you can finally enjoy air conditioning without noisy, inefficient window A/C units.
  • Get zoned heating and cooling that can help further reduce your energy costs by heating and cooling only the areas of your home that need it.
  • You may be eligible for special electricity rates offered by area electric utilities to homeowners who have heat pumps and/or electric vehicle chargers (something else AFC installs!).
  • You can shrink your home’s carbon footprint. Switching to heat pumps reduces your home’s carbon dioxide emissions by an average of 40%.
  • Your home’s indoor air quality will improve, because heat pumps control humidity, and, since there’s little or no ductwork, there are fewer opportunities for dust and allergens to be distributed through your home.
  • You can add heating and cooling to spaces like garages, workshops, sheds, sunporches and other areas your home’s HVAC system doesn’t reach.

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how heat pumps workHow Heat Pumps Work

How are heat pumps installed?

Air-source heat pumps are simple to install. They have an indoor unit (the compressor) and an indoor unit (the evaporator), which are connected by a conduit that contains condensate drain lines, power lines, tubing, and communication lines.

The outdoor units need to be connected above the snow line for them to run in the winter.

Your heat pumps will be connected to your home’s electrical system. Some ducted heat pumps will also be connected to your home’s ductwork if you have it.

Different types of heat pumps

One type does not fit all when it comes to heat pumps. What could work in, say, Ohio may not be right here in Central Maine. We’ll make sure you get the heat pump that will keep your home comfortable.

heat pump wall units

Wall units – These are the most common kind of heat pumps you see and are also called ductless mini-splits. The wall unit is placed in the center of the wall horizontally and 8 to 12 inches below the ceiling vertically.

This allows for unrestricted airflow, and if the unit is not near a window or a door, there will be no interference from outside drafts. The higher placement of the unit also means it will not interfere with people moving about the room or the placement of furniture in a space.

heat pump ceiling cassettes

Ceiling cassettes – If you love the idea of heat pumps but don’t want to see the indoor unit, these are ideal. The unit is hidden above the ceiling, with only a one-inch grill visible.

There are other advantages of installing ceiling cassettes — for instance, if your room has areas that are too hot or too cold. A ceiling cassette has four air outlets, one on each side, which can regulate the temperature. Some models even let you close one or two vents if you prefer to direct the airflow in a specific direction. This feature is particularly helpful in hallways, where you might only need airflow in two directions. To avoid air blowing directly at a wall in your living space, you may install the unit near the wall and close one vent to direct air in three directions only. Additionally, you can opt for one-way ceiling cassettes, which are simpler to install but offer less air distribution.

ducted heat pump system

Ducted – A ducted air-source heat pump takes heat from the air and sends it to an indoor unit. The heat is then distributed throughout the home using ducts. For cooling, the system takes heat from indoors and moves it outside through the same ducts. These systems are smaller than conventional ducted systems, making them a good option for smaller homes or those requiring less construction. They’re also a cost-effective option if you already have ductwork. If you don’t, installing ductwork adds to the cost.

Ducted heat pump systems are convenient, because you need only one unit to heat or cool your entire home when you extend the duct system throughout the home. You won’t have to worry about unsightly units on the floors, walls or ceilings, because the ducts are hidden by walls and soffits. Also, you have the option of closing the vents in rooms that aren’t in use or when you don’t want a specific room to receive treated air.

heat pump floor unit

Floor units – The floor-unit style of mini-split system is placed on your walls about six inches above the floor, occupying the same location and space as a traditional radiator. But unlike radiators, these mini-split systems can both heat and cool your home. The outdoor condenser unit either draws in or expels warm air depending on your desired heating or cooling settings.

Heating and cooling effects are quicker than with units mounted on the wall or ceiling. This is because the mini-split is mounted lower, allowing for faster heating and cooling, as the output is much closer to the people in the room. Compared with wall or ceiling mounts, the floor unit makes maintenance easier: you can easily change the air filters or troubleshoot the mini-split without having to use a ladder to access it.

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Heat pump pros and cons

Whether heat pumps are the right choice for your Central Maine home depends on a wide range of factors. We’ve assembled some pros and cons, so you get a better understanding of how they can work for you.

Pros

  • Heat pumps provide cost-effective cooling without costly ductwork installation.
  • You can zone heating and cooling for both maximum comfort AND energy efficiency!
  • Unlike window A/C units, heat pumps are permanently installed in your home.
  • Heat pumps end negative aspects of window A/C units including excessive noise, home security risks, blockage of natural light, and access into your home for dirt and bugs.

Cons

  • Heat pumps are not as effective as ducted HVAC systems at keeping dust, allergens, odors, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) out of your indoor air.
  • The outdoor units and the lines connecting them to your indoor units are not attractive.
  • Initial installation costs are higher than for ducted HVAC equipment when ductwork is already in place.

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what size heat pump do i need

What size heat pump do I need?

This is where using experienced professionals like those at AFC comes in handy. We’ll go over every facet of your home, along with your heating and cooling needs.

Factors that have an impact on heat pump size include the local climate here in Central Maine, which affects how many days each year you will need heating and cooling; the size of your home; the quality of its insulation; how many windows there are in your home and their location; and any heat-generating appliances you have in your home, such as a clothes dryer.

1 ton or 12,000 Btu’s Homes under 1,000 square feet
2 tons or 24,000 Btu’s Homes between 1,000 and 1,500 square feet
3 tons or 36,000 Btu’s Homes between 1,500 and 2,000 square feet
4 tons or 48,000 Btu’s Homes between 2,000 and 2,500 square feet
5 tons or 60,000 Btu’s Homes between 2,500 and 3,000 square feet
6 tons or 72,000 Btu’s Homes larger than 3,000 square feet

If your home falls somewhere in between these figures, a good guide is to add 1,000 Btu’s for each additional 100 square feet of living space.

If your heat pump is too big, it will use too much energy in providing heating and cooling, cutting into the energy-saving possibilities that heat pumps offer. Conversely, a too-small heat pump won’t be sufficient for your home’s heating and cooling needs. It will have to work harder, driving up your energy costs while wearing out sooner, reducing the return on your investment.

Here’s a good rule of thumb for air pumps sizes. Remember, your home’s needs may be different, but this will give you an approximation of what you may require.

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Do I need a backup heating system?

Today’s heat pumps can work in temperatures down to -22°F, which means that most of the time, they are sufficient for keeping your Central Maine home warm.

However, it’s a good idea to have a backup heating option. Consider it as having a hybrid heating system. If you already have a furnace or boiler in your home, it would only kick on if your heat pump needed help. We’ll set up your new heat pumps to automatically switch to your backup heating system when the outdoor air reaches a predetermined temperature.

What heat pump maintenance do I need?

Just as with every other heating and cooling system, heat pumps need regular, professional maintenance to keep running at their best possible energy efficiency.

heat pump maintenance

Tune-ups also allow our service technicians to detect and fix problems before they damage your heat pump and cause a breakdown.

It is recommended to tune up your heat pump twice a year: once before heating season and once before cooling season.

There is also regular maintenance that you need to do between tune-ups:

  • Clean the grills and filters once a month
  • Clear dirt and debris around the condenser coils
  • Inspect the drainpipe for blockages
  • Change filters per manufacturer’s recommendations

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How much do heat pumps cost?

Heat pumps like those installed by AFC are a major investment in your home. What you will pay for your heat pumps is an individual thing based on the size of your home, the size of heat pump you need and the extent of the installation work involved.

Depending on your needs, adding heat pumps can start around $2,000 for a smaller home and go up from there. The national average for home heat pump installation is about $5,900.

We at AFC understand that making this investment is a big step. That is why we offer easy, transparent financing through the National Energy Improvement Fund (NEIF).

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Heat pump rebates and incentives for Central Maine

Now is a great time to add heat pumps to your home. There are loads of incentives and rebates at both the state and federal levels.

heat pump maine rebates

AFC will help you navigate the incentives and rebates process.

You can get incentives and rebates from Efficiency Maine. These include rebates of up to $800 for your first heat pump unit and up to $400 for a second unit.

At the federal level, homeowners who install new qualifying heat pumps are eligible for a tax credit of 30% of the installation cost, up to $2,000 each year, via the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. You may also be eligible for other tax credits, including one for adding a circuit panel for your heat pumps.

Heat pump installation in Augusta, ME

Enjoy reliability, energy efficiency, and superior comfort with heat pump installation and service from AFC! Get a FREE estimate from us to get started.

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