An In-Depth Guide for Window Heat Pumps
Heat pumps come in all shapes and sizes. Ranging from small room units to large building systems, heat pumps are now a basic necessity in many parts of the world. But what type of heat pump do you need? This answer to this depends on many factors such as your budget, your room size, living location, and much more.
Window heat pumps are compact in nature and are very versatile to use. They mostly suit small rooms, spaces and can easily be installed in both new and older homes. All you need is a window to install a window heat pump but even if you don’t have a window an opening in the wall can be used. Window heat pumps are also referred to as through-the-wall air conditioners.
Let’s look at some of the common questions and queries regarding window heat pumps. Moreover, how they can help you make the right choice in choosing your unit.
What Is a Window Heat Pump?
A window heat pump is an appliance that provides both cooling and heating. You can use the heat pump both in winters for heating and during the summer for cooling. While most window air conditioners are only able to cool a room, window heat pumps are able to work in reverse also to generate warm air. This eliminates the need for two separate heating and cooling appliances.
In comparison with space heaters, window heat pumps are much more efficient when it comes to heating during winter. They focus on warming an entire room rather than a limited space and they are able to do this at a much lower cost. They may appear heavy duty and much bigger in size than space heaters, but the amount of energy they consume is a lot less!
As is evident from the name, window heat pumps mount on a window frame without any hassle or extensive installation procedure. The size of your window heat pump determines the size of the opening required. The cost of installing and operating these is much lower than a ducted HVAC system, which is works for an entire house.
How Do Window Heat Pumps Work?
A window heat pump unit works like any other heat pump but in a more compact form factor. In the summer months, a heat pump works just like your air conditioner, throwing out cool air into the room and ejecting heat outside. But during the winter months, where your air conditioner would be stored away and packed up, your heat pump would still be hard at work, making your room warm.
The functioning of heat pumps involves taking heat from the air outside your house and moving it indoors. Since it involves the movement of heat, or cold air during summer, it is more efficient than other methods that generate heat using electricity, such as space heaters.
The air is heated up, or cooled down, using a chemical known as a refrigerant within your air conditioner. The refrigerant is moved within a network of coils. It is continuously cycled through the evaporator, condenser, compressor, and expansion valve and is responsible for your cooling or heating.
After passing through the expansion valve, the refrigerant, which was previously a liquid, turns into a gas. After this process, the refrigerant is cooled down and is passed through coils in the evaporator. A fan blows air over these coils, cooling the air down and introducing it into the room. The refrigerant absorbs the heat and is a warm gas by now.
After passing through the compressor, the refrigerant is now a high-pressure, high-temperature gas. A fan in the condenser blows over the coils carrying this high-temperature gas and cools it down. The whole cycle then repeats itself to keep on cooling the room.
To use the heating function, this cycle is simply reversed through a reversing valve, and warm air is then introduced into the room.
If you do not want cooling or heating but only ventilation, you could turn on your heat pump in fan mode, so it blows un-conditioned air into the room. This is especially useful in the winters when the room starts getting a bit stuffy.
Energy-Efficiency of Window Heat Pumps
Window heat pumps are some of the most efficient appliances around. This is because the wastage from their heating or cooling is minimal, and they are used in small compact room spaces, as compared to ducted heat pumps.
Heat pump efficiency is measured in Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) for its cooling functionality. Higher the SEER, the more efficient an air conditioner is. It is calculated using a single indoor temperature for the season, while the outdoor temperature is varied from 60 °F to 100 °F. With this, the temperatures are accurately simulated for the whole season.
Heating efficiency for window heat pumps is measured using a Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF). An HSPF of 9 or higher is considered efficient and heat pumps with this HSPF are an excellent option to go for.
Moreover, keep a lookout for Energy Star certified air conditioners. They are certified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to be energy efficient and are manufactured to a higher quality standard.
You can also opt for smart heat pumps for enhanced efficiency. Any conventional air conditioner can be easily made smart using a smart AC or heat pump controller! This nifty device costs around $100 or lower and equips any heat pump with features such as global control using your phone, geofencing, comfy mode, scheduling and more. Utilizing smart features, you can keep a track of your window heat pump’s usage and allow automation to provide the most efficient heating or cooling. Timer or scheduling features ensure that your heat pump does not run unnecessarily.
How Much Noise Do Window Heat Pumps Make?
Window heat pumps are some of the quietest appliances around. While routine office conversations are about 60 dB, window heat pumps work at a silent 65 dB or thereabouts, ensuring that you get a good night’s sleep in complete silence while your heat pump is operational.
The noise level minimizes with energy star certified units. These heat pumps use advanced materials, better technology, and superior noise cancellation technology.
What Features to Look for in a Window Heat Pump?
Before we set out to buy an air conditioner, it is essential to know what features to look out for.
Heat Pump Size
Be careful to know what size room you want to be cooling/heating. Getting a heat pump which is too small for your room will leave you wanting for more cooling/heating. Your window heat pump will need to work harder and longer to reach the temperature requirements putting a strain on your energy bills. On the contrary, getting a heat pump which is too big for your room will provide extra cooling or heating and leave a major mark on your energy bills. British Thermal Unit or BTU is the unit to measure a heat pump size.
Types of Air Filter
There are different types of air filters that you can use with a heat pump. For easy maintenance and low upkeep cost, it’s best to opt for a window heat pump that supports washable air filters. If you have allergies, you should look into the HEPA filter heat pump. These filters can block out 99.97% of particulates 0.3 microns or larger.
Having your heat pump turn on and off by itself is always a welcome addition. Many heat pumps come with a built-in timer, which can then turn your heat pump on or off according to your needs. For example, you can set the timer to turn off the heat pump in 60 minutes, and it will do so without any other intervention.
If your window heat pump comes with an IR remote control, you can also use a smart controller to schedule exactly when your heat pump should turn on or off.
Ball-bearing motors are a comparatively new technology, which allows for much more silent operation. If you’re looking for low noise and a quick start, opt for a window
Many heat pumps have the option of being connected to the WiFi, allowing for global controls from anywhere in the world. These appliances can then be used through your smartphones at any time. It does not matter if you are in another room or simply halfway around the world, you have total control over your window air conditioner. All functions such as changing the heat pump temperature, fan mode, operating mode, and much more can be performed through the smartphone app.
Moreover, even if your window-mounted heat pump does not have built-in Wi-Fi compatibility, there is an alternate solution. You can use smart AC controllers such as the Cielo Breez Plus and make your heat pump smart. Smart AC controllers provide even more advanced features as compared to built-in WiFi compatible heat pumps. Week-long schedules, temperature, and humidity triggers, geolocation, and usage tracking are some features which are provided by smart AC controllers.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Window Heat Pumps
Let us briefly go over some of the pros and cons of window heat pumps:
|Cheaper than mini-splits||In regions of extremely low temperatures, a window heat pump usually is not suitable for heating the room sufficiently.|
|Small and simple to install. There is no need for an expensive and drawn out installation process. You do not need to drill any holes in the wall, with the unit simply popping into your window.||Mini-split heat pumps are more energy-efficient than window heat pumps.|
|Quieter and efficient operation, resulting in lower utility bills.||Not adequate to cool more than one room.|
|Filter inside air|
|Very efficient and Wi-Fi compatible|
How Much Do Window Heat Pumps Cost?
Prices for introductory or basic models of window heat pumps start from around $500. The prices climb up to over $1,000, though, as more features are added. Depending on the size and functionality the cost can further increase. High SEER and functions such as WiFi compatibility or modern designs can make the cost higher.
Window Heat Pump Manufacturers
The are multiple manufacturers of window heat pumps. These include Frigidaire, Kenmore, Friedrich, Comfort Aire, LG, GE, American Comfort, Amana, Carrier, and many other HVAC manufacturers.
No one type of window heat pump is the best or suitable for everyone. Check the sizes available, features, and extra featured (if any) offered price. In the end, check the reviews to make the best possible choice for you.
Why Opt for a Window Heat Pump?
Window heat pumps are small, efficient, capable of heating and cooling, and ergonomic in design. They do not require expensive installation, especially if compared with central systems and are not a hassle to remove or move around if needed. Moreover, they do not require any structural changes to your room when installing, unless you are considering a through-the-wall installation.
If you want to cool down a single room and do not want to go through the drawn-out installation work of ducts or mini-splits, window heat pumps will be ideal for your apartment or room.