The future is all electric home construction with high-efficiency heat pump HVAC systems that are fueled by your solar panels. Regaining control of your homes energy costs starts with solar because it allows you to lock in your long term energy costs and protect yourself from future electricity rate increases. This is why the city of Sacramento has adopted all electric home construction codes starting in 2023, and solar panels are now required on all new homes in California since 2021.
Is a gas furnace always the best way to heat a home?
A gas furnace is not always the best way to heat a home. They can produce extremely hot heat, which means that the temperature in your home can quickly reach the setting on your thermostat. This can leave cold spots around your home and contribute to dry skin.
Gas furnaces may provide overpowering heat when the temperatures outside are between 40 and 60 degrees. A gas furnace also produces CO, which can be a threat if the unit isn’t installed properly and inspected annually.
Heat pumps can actually be a better choice in the Sacramento valley where winters are milder. In areas that don’t experience prolonged temperatures below freezing, a heat pump consumes less energy and can be more efficient than a furnace. Which is why the city of Sacramento has adopted new codes that will require homes to be built with all-electric appliances including heat pumps starting in 2023.
High-efficiency heat pumps include variable speed technology and can be automatically adjusted to deliver exactly what you need when you need it, like a dimmer switch that allows you to adjust the light up or down based on your needs making variable speed technology a bright idea.
Variable speed technology can keep the temperature within 0.5 degrees of the thermostat setting so that you will enjoy optimal humidity and temperature control, all based on your personal preferences for the best comfort and efficiency.
Right now, there are rebates up to $4,800 that the utility company instantly pays to help you make the switch to a high-efficiency variable speed heat pump.
There are three types of fans:
Basic furnaces have a single-stage fan (also known as a blower)., meaning it’s either “on” or “off.” It either works at 100% or zero.
Two-stage motors will usually have a 100% setting, then another that’s lower (about 70% power). This provides additional control and comfort. They’re a nice middle ground between low-end and high-end efficiency and the initial cost and will save you on energy costs compared to a single-stage.
Think of it like gas mileage. It’s more efficient to drive slower than higher speeds, and slamming the pedal can produce long-term wear and tear on your car. The benefits of having a second, slower stage are somewhat similar in terms of efficiency and system usage.
Variable-speed units can have hundreds of individual speed settings and offers a very granular level of control over your heating and cooling.
The same goes for heat pumps. They also come with the option of three types of fans: single-stage, two-stage, and variable-speed. A variable-speed air conditioner can have up to 700 distinct compressor settings that correspond to varying airflow levels. Variable-speed air conditioners will run the most efficiently. They will generally be the quietest as well since they’re often operating as low as 40% of their maximum power capacity.
You’re also going to save the most on energy costs and have the most significant degree of control over the temperature in your home to keep it within 0.5 degrees of your desired setting. This image shows the cycles of on and off for the three types of fans.
The primary downside is the initial cost. The systems don’t come cheap, even though they largely make up that cost in the long run. Right now, there are rebates up to $4,800 that the utility company instantly pays to help you make the switch to a high-efficiency heat pump.
Why are heat pumps so popular in warmer climates?
The biggest reason is that electric systems are 100% efficient, and here in the Sacramento Valley, where it’s not too cold, heat pumps offer the best control over your comfort and energy savings in the long run.
How are heat pumps’ efficiency rated?
Since heat pumps provide both cooling and heating, manufacturers use two different ratings to score heat pump efficiency:
- Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)
- Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF)
The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the system is. Heat pumps can be between 14-20 SEER. While heating, a heat pump’s efficiency is scored with an HSPF rating; Heat pumps can be between 7.7-10 HSPF.
Getting your Ducts in a row
The biggest difference between energy efficient homes compared to tradition construction is the ability to control the air from escaping to the outside. The most important part of your duct system is how air tight the ducts are. Every little tiny crack or hole in the ducts or connections can lead to air leakage, and because the HVAC blower adds pressure inside the ducts it can blast huge amounts wasted energy to the outside. It is very important to have your duct work as air tight as possible so we take extra care in making sure that all connections are sealed properly.
Deep Burying Ducts with Insulation
Modern ducting is made with flexible materials that include three layers. The inner layer is the tube that carries the air; this is covered by an insulation layer that has an R-8 insulation value, the outer shiny silver layer is the moisture barrier that protects from condensation forming on the ducts in the summertime.
The most efficient way to install the ducts is to keep them as close to the attic floor as possible; this is so we can deep bury the ducts with insulation adding even more protection from the hostile environment of the attic. This image shows the new ducts installed and ready to be buried in 20 inches of loosefill insulation.
Right now there is a $3,000 instant utility paid rebate to air seal your ducts and deep bury them with insulation. The utility companies are giving you their money because they know that it really works and gets you the best results. Connect with us now to get the information you need before the rebates disappear.