Many homeowners aren’t aware of how important heat pump sizing is for efficient humidity removal in the summer. Cooling systems, including heat pumps, remove water from the air when the warm indoor air flows over the evaporator coil inside the air handler. As the refrigerant removes the heat from the air, it chills and the water vapor condenses into a liquid, draining away through a drainpipe.
However, the condensation process doesn’t start immediately. It takes about 15 minutes of running time to remove enough humidity to make a difference. When heat pumps are too large, they don’t run long enough to dehumidify the air. In our region, humidity is a major factor during the cooling season, so being certain that the size is correct when you’re having a new heat pump installed will help assure your comfort and lower your energy bills. Drier air feels cooler than humid air, since more perspiration evaporates when it’s dry.
When heat pump sizing, HVAC contractors use a software tool called Manual J that takes into account the local climate, your home’s energy efficiency, its size and layout, and other factors that contribute to the conditioning load. Skipping this assessment and analysis could result in an oversized heat pump that will leave humidity in your home’s air.
Systems that are too large also drive up your cooling bills and could result in higher maintenance costs. Cooling equipment uses the most electricity when it first turns on, and frequent starts and stops add to your power bill and increase wear on system parts.
However, if you have a functioning air conditioner or heat pump that you don’t need to replace in the foreseeable future and you suspect it’s too large, you could use dehumidifiers to pull the excess humidity from the air. In this situation, a whole-house dehumidifier could help you reduce your cooling costs, especially if you’ve been keeping your home cooler than necessary just to dry out the air.
If you’d like more information about heat pump sizing and your indoor comfort, please contact us at Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal. We’ve provided exceptional HVAC services to northwest Arkansas for more than 40 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Northwest Arkansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about heat pump sizing and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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