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Is a Heat Pump Right for Your Air Conditioner?

Allentown, PA enjoys some wonderfully mild summers, with typical summertime temperatures climbing only into the mid-80s. A homeowner may wonder how appropriate a heat pump is in this type of climate. Rather than fight the fierce scorching temperatures our southern and southwestern neighbors suffer, we in the Lehigh Valley area can enjoy cool comfort and high efficiency with heat pumps.

Read on to find out if a heat pump is right for your air conditioner, or contact Jack Lehr Heating, Cooling & Electric for a consultation!

Heat Pump Effectiveness in Cooling Degree Days

To better understand the effectiveness of a heat pump in acting to cool your Lehigh Valley home, you need to understand how environmental engineers measure cooling degree days (CDDs). The helpful folks at the National Weather Service explain it simply: take the day’s high and low, find the average temperature for the day, and subtract 65. Here is a simplified example:

  • Allentown’s average August high temperature is 82 degrees F
  • Allentown’s average August low temperature is 61 degrees F
  • A typical August day’s average temperature would be 71.5 degrees F
  • So our typical August day in Allentown has 6.5 CDDs

The fewer the CDDs for any given time—week, month or season—the less you will spend on electricity to cool your home.

Central Air Conditioning, Window Units, or a Heat Pump?

The Lehigh Valley does not bake under summer sun the way, for example, Death Valley does. We only have around 780 CDDs a year, with high peaks in July and August. (Death Valley, by contrast, has around 5,400 CDDs annually.) To keep your family cool, you have three choices, in order from least energy efficient to most:

  • Window units—bulky; heavy; susceptible to mold and mildew; and energy wasteful
  • Central air conditioning—requires more of an initial investment and limited to cooling and dehumidifying only
  • Heat pump—less expensive than central air, able to heat and cool your Allentown home

A heat pump provides plenty of cooling power and the flexibility to provide heat later in the year. Heat pumps efficiently transfer heat from one area to another, so in summer, they transfer heat from inside your home out to the outdoor air. Even on hot days, the outside air has plenty of capacity to absorb more heat as your heat pump efficiently gathers it from your home and forces it outside.

Heat Pump Reliability

Heat pumps are more efficient at removing humidity from your Lehigh Valley home’s air than central air conditioners. This means two important benefits:

  • Less electricity usage for you
  • Increased indoor comfort for your family

How reliable are heat pumps, though, compared to central air conditioners? Heat pumps do not sit idle for four or five months, the way central air conditioners do. This way, they cannot deteriorate from disuse or neglect, or build up mold and mildew inside their components. Installing a new heat pump will provide heated, cooled, and treated air year-round.

Heat Pump Advice

To get a better idea of how helpful a heat pump could be for your particular situation, contact Jack Lehr Heating, Cooling & Electric to arrange an appointment. We can inspect your heating and cooling system and help you decide if a reliable, energy-efficient heat pump is right for you.

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