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Last updated: November 9, 2023

Heat Pump Installation Guide for Homeowners US

Installation of the Different Types and Factors to Consider When Installing Heat Pumps

Installation of heat pumps is a complicated process, especially if you are installing a water source or a ground source heat pump. To understand the process more simply, we have prepared this guide for you. We will be discussing the installation of the three types of heat pumps. Our guide will give you an overview of how each heat pump is installed to give you an insight into the process of installation. This will also help you understand if you are choosing the right heat pump for your home.

Air source heat pumps are the most commonly found heat pumps in homes across the country. They are similar to a central heating or cooling system that has an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. Installing an ASHP is simpler compared to a water source heat pump or a ground source heat pump.

In this guide, we will also go through the factors you need to consider before the installation of your heat pump. This will ensure the installation is done accurately for the heat pump to work efficiently and optimally. These factors are important as they will ensure that you are installing the right heat pump for your home.

HVAC installers can help you identify and decide on what heat pump will be the right one for your home. Moreover, heat pump installation is best left to the professionals, as this will help ensure its optimal functioning and efficiency. Contacting and consulting an HVAC installer will help you make an informed decision.

Finding the right installer is just that important and difficult a task. You will be spending hours of your time calling them one by one and explaining your requirements. You will then sit and spend a few more hours comparing their quotes, trying to find the one that best fits your requirements and budget.

GreenMatch can help you simplify this task by clicking on the button below. Fill out the form with the required details and we will match you with up to 3 certified installers. You will get their quotes to compare without the obligation of hiring either of them.

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How are Heat Pumps Installed?

There are three main types of heat pumps that homeowners install: air source heat pumps, water source heat pumps, and ground source heat pumps. All three work on the same basic principle of absorbing heat from a source and distributing heated or cooled air into your home. However, the installation of all three differs in certain ways, as explained below.

Installation of Air Source Heat Pump

The first step in installing an ASHP is the assessment of the location carried out by the certified installer. The site inspection is usually to ensure that there is a proper stand or an elevated platform that can hold the outside unit properly and ensure the heat pump’s optimal functioning.

The next step will be to install the outdoor unit on a stand or an elevated platform, usually above the average snow level to avoid inefficient working. Then the refrigerant lines and ductwork (if required) are installed. The indoor unit/s are mounted and connected with the outdoor unit via the refrigerant lines or ductwork (in case of a ducted system).

Then comes the connectivity of your heat pump with the main electrical supply of your home for it to operate. Once this is done, the installers will check the system to ensure that it is running smoothly. If the system checks out, that concludes the installation of your air source heat pump.

Installation of Water Source Heat Pump

WSHPs are a great option if you have a viable source of water nearby. If there’s a lake, pond, sea, river, or a well close to your home, installing a WSHP may be worth it. Depending on the availability of space, you can either have the pipes installed vertically or horizontally in the water source. The two main types of WSHP are open-loop and closed-loop systems.

The installation usually starts with creating a trench or boring vertical holes in the water source for the pipes to be installed. The pipes need to be deep enough to avoid natural obstacles such as frozen water bodies, high tides, etc. A loop of pipes or a pond mat is created that is submerged in the water body for exchanging heat.

The pipes in the water body are connected with an indoor unit installed inside your home or in a separate area outside your door. The heat exchange pipes are filled with refrigerants that flow to and from, absorbing or releasing heat into the water.

Once the installation is completed, the system is tested to ensure its optimal and efficient functioning. If no problems are encountered during the testing process, the installation is concluded.

Installation of Ground Source Heat Pump

A ground source heat pump works by exchanging heat with the ground through a network of pipes buried underground. Again, the pipes are installed either vertically or horizontally, but there’s more work required compared to a WSHP.

Generally, for residences the pipes are laid out horizontally and deep in the ground to facilitate smooth heat exchange with the ground. The pipes are connected to the indoor unit of the GSHP, through which the heat pump heats or cools your home.

The indoor unit is similar to the ones that are used in an ASHP, which houses a compressor, evaporator and a blower fan that ensures efficient exchange of heat or cold air inside your home. Once the system is installed and connected, the installers test the system to ensure its optimal and efficient functioning.

The steps, though similar to each other, differ in the way they are carried out. Installation of each type of heat pump required careful planning and expertise to ensure the optimal functioning of the heat pump. A lot of factors play an important role in the installation of a heat pump, that needs to be considered before the installation is carried out. We will now discuss the factors you need to consider before going through the installation of your heat pump.

Factors to Consider Before Installing a Heat Pump

Before you install your heat pump, there are factors you need to consider to ensure its optimal and efficient functioning. There are different factors crucial to each of the three types of heat pumps as we discuss below:

Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP)

Air source heat pumps work best in moderate climate conditions. Hence, it is important to consider the climate of your region before installing an ASHP. This will ensure that the ASHP works optimally and provides sufficient heating during the coldest months too.

Consider the SEER and HSPF ratings of the heat pump you are installing to ensure that the heat pump works efficiently all year round. If you have an existing heating system and are adding to it, compatibility of the two systems is an important factor to be considered before installation.

Water Source Heat Pump (WSHP)

One of the most important factors to be considered before a water source heat pump is to ensure the availability of a sufficient and viable water source. The quality of water available must be usable as it can otherwise lead to maintenance issues and damage to the system. Poor quality of water can also lead to health issues. Hence, it may be advisable to have the water tested to ensure that the quality of water is usable.

Another important factor to consider is to ensure that there is enough space available to store the indoor unit of the WSHP. The energy efficiency of the heat pump is also an important factor to consider. Installing a heat pump with higher SEER and HSPF ratings would ensure optimal and efficient functioning of the heat pump.

Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP)

As with a WSHP, the quality of soil needs to be determined before installing a geothermal heat pump as some soils are better for transferring heat. You also need to consider if it would be feasible to install vertical or horizontal pipe loops.

For a GSHP, you may also need to ensure you have drilling permits if required. You also need to ensure there is enough ground space for installing pipe loops. Energy efficiency, just like WSHP or ASHP, is an important factor you need to consider before installing a geothermal heat pump.

As you can see, each of the heat pumps has factors specific to them that you need to consider before installation. It is advisable to consult a certified HVAC installer who can perform an accurate site assessment and offer recommendations specific to your circumstances and budget. They can help you make an informed decision and one that fits best with your requirements and budget.

GreenMatch can help you find a reliable, certified HVAC installer with just a click. Fill out the form with the required details and we will match you with up to 3 installers and get their quotes to compare. Our service is free with no obligation.

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