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Why Heat Pumps Are Perfect If You Live In Portland, OR

why heat pumps are perfect if you live in portland oregon

When it comes time to replace their heating system many homeowners become confused by the options. Heat pumps are a versatile option for homes in moderate climate areas like Portland, Oregon where winter days don’t often go below 30 degrees and summers aren’t blazing hot for months.

Let’s dive into the details of how heat pumps are perfect for Portland-area homes. 

What is a Heat Pump?

First, let’s review what a heat pump is. A heat pump is a technology that goes back to the 1740s. After the first scientific principles of heat pump properties were discovered several inventors built on the technology.

In the 1940s an American inventor built the first whole-home system. Since then heat pumps have exploded in use. Because they do not burn fuel, heat pumps are one of the most efficient heating and cooling systems on the market. 

Heat pump technology uses a simple principle called heat transfer to move heat from one area to another. Refrigerant is pumped through coils inside and outside the home moving heat from a high-temperature location and dumping it in a low-temperature location.

In the winter, air source heat pumps pull heat from the outside air, raising the temperature of the refrigerant which then moves the heat inside to heat your home. In summer this process is reversed, transferring heat from inside your home to the outside. 

Additional Reading: Heat Pumps 101: How Does a Heat Pump Work?

What are the Benefits of Heat Pumps in Portland?

Portland homeowners choosing between an air-source heat pump and a fuel-burning furnace are often driven by a few factors – how well they work, efficiency, cost, and savings.

Do heat pumps work well in the Portland climate?

Because heat pumps don’t generate hot or cold air but pull heat from the outside or inside air and expel it, it is a perfect fit for moderate climates like Portland.

Our mild yet rainy winters are still a warm enough environment for a heat pump to absorb heat from the outdoor air to transfer into the home. And in the summer it is able to pull hot indoor air from the home and transfer it outdoors, keeping a home comfortable without overwhelming the system.

Do you really save money with a heat pump?

Because our power grid is largely dependent on renewable hydroelectricity, electric heat pumps have a low carbon footprint and high efficiency, meaning it is cheaper to heat with a heat pump in Portland.

Is a heat pump more efficient than a furnace?

Efficiency is measured by the amount of heat that is delivered to a home versus the percentage of energy consumed to get that heat. An electric heat pump can have an efficiency of 100 percent or more because most of the heat is collected from an outdoor air source.

The minimum efficiency requirement for the US is 80 percent, which means 20 percent of the fuel just leaves the house without ever doing anything. The high efficiency of a heat pump, which wastes very little of the energy it uses, means that a heat pump can be a very attractive HVAC system for homeowners looking to reduce costs of operation.

Read next: The Role of Air Conditioning in the Fight Against Climate Change

Is a Heat Pump Better than an AC?

Cooling solutions for hot summer days typically mean looking at an air conditioner or heat pump as your HVAC system. Both systems use refrigerant to absorb and transfer heat from your home to the outside and both keep your home equally cool.

The main difference with a heat pump is that they are a 2-in-1 HVAC system, working the whole year to keep your home comfortable.

By reversing the heat transfer in the winter to warm your home a heat pump investment means you are getting both cooling and heating in one package, reducing the need for both an AC and a furnace while offering versatility.

Additional reading: Heat Pump vs Air Conditioner: Which is Right for You?

How Long Do Heat Pumps Last in Portland?

Heat pumps are used year-round for both heating and cooling so they will have more wear and tear over the years. Air conditioners are only used in the hotter Portland months while a furnace will be used in the winter.

A year-round heat pump can last between 12 and 20 years. Heat pump reliability has come a long way since those first prototypes. Today’s heat pumps are reliable and keep many Portland homes comfortable year-round.

Proper sizing of a heat pump system and regular maintenance will increase the longevity and reliability of an HVAC system.

Additional reading: How Long Does A Furnace Last & When To Replace It

What Does a Heat Pump Cost?

Heat pumps are more expensive upfront than a furnace or central air conditioning system but over their lifetime the energy savings could end up paying for your unit. A heat pump installation in the Portland area can range in cost between $7,000 and $13,000.

Additional reading: How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Furnace?

How Jacobs Can Help

HVAC systems are an investment in your family’s comfort. Deciding what heating and cooling system will keep you comfortable for the next 15 to 20 years can feel daunting. Jacobs Heating & Air Conditioning experts are here to guide you through the process to help you make a good buying decision for yourself and your family.

Jacobs consultants will help evaluate your home to ensure you have a long-lasting HVAC system that will keep you comfortable in all seasons. Avoid extra costs and fewer repairs by scheduling a tune-up for your existing system before issues arise.

Our maintenance plans keep your heating system running like clockwork without any stress or hassle. No matter what you need we’re always just a phone call away. You are welcome to review our statement on COVID-19 and how we’re taking precautions to protect you, our team, and our communities.

About the Author

Amanda Jacobs portrait

Amanda Jacobs, Internal Project Manager

Amanda Jacobs is an Internal Projects Manager and 3rd generation member of Jacobs Heating & Air Conditioning. She received her MBA from Seattle University and has worked for a leading HVAC training and consulting firm. When not talking HVAC on the Jacobs Blog, you can find her on the golf course or whipping up her famous vegan chili.