A heat pump’s performance and energy efficiency not only depend on the selection and planning of the equipment but also on careful installation.
Installing a New Heat Pump - Heat Pumps
Consumers and home builders alike tend to accept the lowest bid for heating and air-conditioning work. This unfortunate choice can often leave a system lacking 10 to 30 percent in the materials and labor necessary to optimize heat-pump performance. Rather than just accepting the lowest bid, it’s best to research the performance records of local contractors, and get involved in the planning and decision-making about your new heat pump system.

You can avoid most of the common comfort and performance problems from improper installation by following these guidelines:

  • Make your home as energy-efficient as you can with proper insulation, energy-efficient windows, and an effective air barrier, etc. Then your contractor can install a smaller pump system with shorter duct lengths. In an energy-efficient home, it isn’t necessary to run ducts all the way out to exterior walls to install registers near the exterior walls.
  • Install the ducts inside your home’s insulation and air barrier, if possible. Research shows that this strategy is a major energy saver.
  • Insulate your ducts to R-8 if they must be located in an attic or crawl space beyond the home’s air barrier and insulation.
  • Locate the outdoor unit on the north side of your home if possible. If not, pick a shady spot. There should be no obstructions within 10 feet of the sides with openings and the top.
  • Specify that the measured air leakage through your new ducts be less than 10 percent of your system’s airflow. Air leakage of 5 percent or less is possible with careful workmanship.
  • Tell your contractor that you want a return register in every room.
  • Don’t use building cavities as ducts. Building-cavity return ducts are notoriously leaky and often cause comfort, energy, and moisture problems.
  • Pull on ductwork after installation to make sure it is fastened and sealed well. (Seal duct joints with mastic.)

Central Coast HVAC Contractors Home.