heat pumps

6 Factors That Impact Heat Pump Efficiency in Lusby, MD

March 27, 2022

Heat pumps can warm or cool your home in Lusby, MD in a very efficient manner. These devices use a small amount of energy to transfer heat from the air or ground outside into your home and can also work in reverse to cool a home. A heat pump is energy-efficient in that they don’t generate energy but move it; the following factors determine how efficient these systems are.


A properly sized heat pump will likely run with the energy efficiency that the manufacturer recommends. Size affects a HVAC system’s energy usage and its load capacity. If you notice that a heat pump heats or cools your home unevenly, it’s likely undersized.

If your heat pump cycles on and off, it’s likely bigger than your space needs. Allow a professional heating technician to properly size and install the system for the best energy efficiency.

Temperature Variations Outdoors

Variations in outdoor temperatures influence the demand you place on your HVAC system. During very cold winters and very hot summers, you will need more heating and cooling, which can exceed the maximum load capacity of the HVAC system.

With geothermal heat pumps, changes in temperatures affect the condition of the soil. To ensure heating or cooling efficiency, you need deep, vertical looping systems that reach parts of the ground where temperatures are consistent.


A heating pump can last for up to 20 years. However, because these units heat and cool your home, they’re operational through all seasons, so they typically last from 15 to 20 years, sometimes less. Older units don’t have the modern technologies and designs that make a heat pump so energy efficient.

An old system may have a SEER rating of about 10 or less. Newer models have a SEER rating of about 15, and some go to 20 or more, making them more efficient. The design of the compressor, the motor and the heat exchanger in modern heat pumps makes them more efficient.

Two-Stage Compressors

Heat pumps feature either single-stage, two-stage or modulating compressors. A single-stage compressor runs at full capacity whether heating or cooling a room. Once the room heats or cools to the temperature set on the thermostat, the heat pump switches off and may short-cycle on days when there’s a huge variation in temperatures.

Two-stage compressors can operate at high or full capacity as the ambient temperature of the home requires. As they need the end of a cooling or heating cycle, the compressors operate at low capacity so that it doesn’t short cycle. Modulating compressors adjust their heating or cooling based on the prevailing temperature indoors.

Soil Type and Rocks

Some types of soil have higher thermal transfer than others when it comes to geothermal systems. If the soil outside your home has a high thermal transfer, the heat pump technician only needs to install fewer loops and shallower on the ground to transfer heat. For soils with a lower thermal transfer, the technician will need to dig deep to get to the part of the soil where temperatures are consistent.

Rocky soil is less effective in thermal transfer. For people living near mountain ranges, installing the looping pipes might be challenging, and the thermal transfer of such soil is low. In these cases it’s probably better to use a heat pump rather than geothermal.

Heat Pump Maintenance

Your heat pump requires regular maintenance to maintain peak performance. Failure to maintain the HVAC system can cause issues, such as leaky ducts, reduced airflow, dirty filters, wrong refrigerant or low refrigerant charge.

Reduced airflow and leaks cause the HVAC system to work harder or work continuously to heat or cool a room. As it does that, its energy and heating and cooling efficiency reduce.

If you use your heat pump frequently, you should check your filter monthly and change it as needed, usually about every three months. If you have furry pets, you may need to change the filter more frequently.

You should call a professional heat pump technician to check up and tune-up the heat pump before the start of each heating and cooling season. Contact Hancock Refrigeration Heating & Air Conditioning for HVAC installation, repair, maintenance and other heat pump services.

Image provided by iStock

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