Fresno area homeowners enjoy relatively moderate winter temperatures, which, for many, makes high heating bills quite confounding. If you’re baffled by high heating bills, remember that air-source heat pump performance depends on an optimal balance point. Lower the heat pump’s balance point, and you’ll lower your heating bills.
Heat pump balance point
The balance point of a heat pump is the outdoor temperature at which a home’s heating load has exceeded the heat pump’s heating capacity. Unable to keep up with the home’s heat loss, the heat pump shuts down, and inefficient electric resistance heating takes over.
While scheduled preventive maintenance is necessary to maximize heat pump efficiency, your home’s envelope dictates the balance point. When you improve the energy efficiency of your home’s shell, you lower the temperature at which backup electric resistance heating is activated, which, in turn, lowers heating bills.
Optimizing the balance point
A well-maintained heat pump can adequately and efficiently heat the average home in temperatures near, or at the freezing point. This fact of air-source heat pump performance makes a huge difference in heating bills for regions with moderate winter temperatures, like the Fresno area, where winter temperatures often hover in the balance-point range.
The first step to optimize your heat pump’s balance point is to perform an energy evaluation of your home. You may choose the DIY method, or you may opt for a professional approach, utilizing sophisticated equipment to accurately pinpoint air leaks and duct design flaws, and using thermal scans to reveal areas in the home lacking insulation. For instance, a professional energy evaluation could recommend the following upgrades:
- Install weatherstripping around access doors.
- Use caulk and spray-foam sealant to seal air leaks around windows, and gaps and holes in walls.
- Add attic insulation and attic ventilation, and seal around the attic hatch and around lighting installations.
The list can go on to recommend window upgrades, water heater insulation, sealing an attached garage and much more. Remember, energy-efficiency improvements help lower cooling bills, too.
For more information about air-source heat pump performance, the balance point and energy evaluations, contact Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning in Fresno today.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Fresno, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air-source heat pumps and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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