Window unit heat pumps can be a good heating and cooling option for your home when you want to heat from 100 to 700 square feet of space. Window unit heat pumps are basically air conditioners that provide heat also. If you have shopped for one before, you may have heard of some unfamiliar terms like heat strip and heat pump. We will clear up what is meant by these and other terms commonly used with window unit heat pumps and help you to decide if they are a good choice for your heating and cooling needs.
Window Unit Heat Pump Terminology
• Heat pump: A heat pump is basically a reversible air conditioner with a switch valve that moves from heat to cool. It removes heat from the air inside your home and moves it outside in the summer and removes heat from outside air and moves it inside in the winter.
• Heat strip: electronic heating elements that warm the air of an air conditioner to provide heat in the cold months. These are either used to supplement the heat of a heat pump or are used by themselves instead of a heat pump.
• BTU: British Thermal Units are used to measure the amount of heat put out.
• EER: Energy Efficiency Ratio. This figure is acquired by dividing the cooling capacity in BTUs per hour by the power input in watts. The higher the EER, the more energy efficient the heat pump or air conditioner is. This is the rating system Energy Star uses to rate superior products.
Comparing Available Window Unit Brands
We shopped around to show you some different options available to you when you decide to purchase a window unit air conditioner with a heat pump and/or heat strip. Here we compare some common brands that put out close to 12,000 BTUs or that put out enough heat and/cold air to properly condition a room that is about 500 square feet. All of the following have booth heating and cooling capabilities:
• FEDDERS: They have a 12,000 BTU unit with a heat strip that has a EER of 9.7 and costs $435.
• GE: General Electric has a 11,600 BTU unit with a EER of 9.5 for $619.
• FRIEDRICH: has a window unit with 12,000 BTUs cooling and 11,600 BTUs heating that has a EER of 10.7 and costs $809. Although this brand is more expensive, it also comes with an air purifier and a dehumidifier.
• LG: has a 12,000 BTU unit with a EER of 11.2 that costs $683.
• KLIMAIRE: has a 15,000 BTU unit with a EER of 8.9 and a cost of $785.
That should give you a good idea of where to start looking for an air conditioner with a heat pump that suits your needs, of course you may want a smaller or bigger unit depending on the size of the area you want to condition.
When looking for a unit for your home, be sure to find out if the unit has a truly reversible heat pump that heats and cools or if it just has a heat strip added and a non reversible heat pump that only air conditions cool. Some units with just heat strips can have an okay EER, but generally a heat pump that is reversible is going to fetch you a higher EER. Ask your retailer for details regarding the heat pump before you make your final decision.
Where to Use Heat pumps
If you have done a fair amount of traveling, you most likely have had many experiences with heat pumps. They are what most hotels and motels use as their heating and cooling devices for individual rooms. They use them because the need to heat or cool each room changes regularly whenever the rooms are occupied with different customers that all have different heating and cooling preferences. Also the hotel or motel owners do not want to pay for heating or cooling an unoccupied room and the heat pump solution makes it easy to regulate each room on an individual basis.
So you may be asking: What about using a heat pump at home? Well, consider why hotels and motels use them and think about if you have similar needs. Do you have a room where you would want to control the air temperature separately from the rest of the home? If so, a window unit heat pump may be the perfect solution for your home.
One room in particular that a window heat pump is perfect for is a guest bed room. Many of us have a mother in law with strange room temperature preferences and we want to keep them happy when they are over. Well some of you do, I am sure. With full control over the air temperature of their room, they won’t be able to complain about the temperature you keep your home. You could save yourself from a major headache if you have a guest room equipped with a window unit heat pump.