The heat pump attic installation has always been a controversial debate among homeowners.
Go to Reddit or wherever, and you will find everyone with a different opinion.
The case is almost similar even for HVAC contractors; some would swear by it, while some would highly discourage it.
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We, therefore, take this opportunity to look at the pros and cons of heat pump attic installations.
By this end, we hope to help you make the final decision.
If you already have a heat pump in your attic, we have you covered too. We give you tips to ensure your system is performing at its best.
The Problems with Installing the Heat Pump in the Attic
Here are some top reasons not to install an HVAC system in your attic space.
If you have considered it, counter-check these factors before booking a heat pump installation service with your local HVAC technician.
It is Complicated to Clean the Ductwork
The type of ductwork put in the attic is typically lightweight and flexible. They are made of light-duty plastic and sometimes canvas.
Cleaning them is tricky; you cannot perform heavy-duty cleaning that involves poking and vacuuming.
It is no secret that installing your heat pump in the attic lowers its efficiency.
This means that you may have to pay more energy bills than when you had it on lower levels of the house.
You are probably wondering why installing the heat pump in the attic offsets its efficiency…
Your attic is typically 20-50 degrees hotter than the ambient temperature during summer. In winter, the attic temperatures may drop as much as the outside temperature. This hotter or colder attic climate makes the heat pump work extra to compensate.
In most cases, you may even need an extensive system to cover these differences. These attic temperatures will inflate your energy bills.
Also, many times, the attic is an unconditioned space. A simple air leak would significantly affect the house’s energy efficiency.
Here at HVAC Santa Clarita, we are passionate about ensuring every home is highly energy efficient. If you suspect your system is no longer efficient, feel free to contact us.
During winter, everywhere is too cold for rodents. When they come across the warm ductwork in the attic, they will chew it and try to build their nests inside. First, this is severe destruction of the ductwork, and you will soon be battling serious air leaks.
With the holes in the ductwork, condensation and moisture will leak down to your ceiling, gradually destroying it.
Also, with rodents inside your ductwork, you will have to deal with harmful things such as the rodents’ feces.
In such cases, depending on how big the damage is, you can perform a seal or get new ductwork installation services.
Problems Easily Go Undetected
If you have a heat pump in the attic (and the same goes to attic ac unit) you will likely forget routine maintenance until something goes wrong.
When it is hidden in the corner of the attic, people forget about simple things such as cleaning the air filters and the condensate drain. They only remember that they should take care of the unit when it no longer blows warm or cool air as needed.
Remember that ductwork naturally expands depending on the temperatures in and out of it. Over time, this expansion can loosen duct seals. This issue can result in massive yet subtle air leaks, mainly if you do not perform routine check-ups.
You May Have to Wait Longer for Heat Pump Repairs
Attics can get as hot as 150 degrees Fahrenheit in summer! Now, there is no way an HVAC contractor will go up there to fix the HVAC system in an unconditioned attic.
You will have to wait for the temperatures to lower before they can repair your system.
Sometimes, as we have stated, people remember their attic HVAC unit when something goes wrong. In such cases, you need an emergency HVAC repairs but will still have to wait for the temperatures to drop to get a technician’s service.
Book your air conditioning repair Santa Clarita with us as soon as you notice an anomaly.
Drafts and More Dust Issues
During house construction, a vapor barrier is installed before the drywall insulation. This film prevents penetration of dust, air leaks and moisture.
However, when an air conditioner or a heat pump is installed in the attic, holes are made in the vapor barrier to penetrate vents that supply air to all the rooms.
When these holes are drilled, sometimes they are not re-sealed perfectly. For starters, this results in heat and draft loss during winter.
Secondly, this issue will introduce a lot of dust into the living space.
If you already have a heat pump in your attic or an attic furnace, you may want to ensure that the drill through the vapor barrier is well sealed. Follow these simple steps to check:
- Take the ceiling grill off, then look between the drywall and the vent pipe that goes down.
- Look for plastic tape or sealant installed around the vent pipes,
- If you can see none, it is not well sealed, and your living space is exposed to the attic.
What are the Top Benefits of Installing your Heat Pump
Here are some top pros of installing your heat pump in the attic.
More Living Space
Residential heating and cooling systems are not typically enormous. However, despite this, they still need a specific space set aside for them.
Having HVAC units in the attic space will free up some floor space. In the lower levels of the house.
Yes, you will lose some space on the attic floor, but the trade remains worthwhile.
Easy Access to Every Room in the House
One advantage of installing a heat pump in the attic is how easy the duct installation is.
It is easy to supply every room with cool and hot air. This is one great way to avoid zones that do not receive conditioned air.
If you want to avoid an uneven climate in your house, an attic heat pump could help solve this issue.
Getting the Best Out of Your Attic Heat Pump System
If you already have your heat pump in the attic or have decided to install it up there, then you should learn to take good care of it. Just like any other HVAC equipment, heat pumps in the attic need routine maintenance to function well.
Here are some tips to achieve the best from
- Always consult with an HVAC technician as soon as you notice issues such as ceiling leaks, rotting attic floor joists or lack of or reduced conditioned air.
- Do not just focus on the air handler. Ensure your outdoor unit is working well so that there is no strain on the indoor unit in the attic.
- Get attic insulation. Poor attic insulation lowers the energy efficiency of the air handlers(1). Ask your HVAC technician to help ensure your attic is well-insulated.
- Ensure your ductwork is well-insulated too. You can use spray foam insulation for them.
- Perform routine maintenance to avoid having clogged air filters and a clogged drain line.
- Periodically go up there and ensure that the AC unit, the duct seals, and the refrigerant line ductwork installed are properly functioning.
Heat Pump Attic Frequently Asked Questions
We answer some top frequently asked questions concerning the heat pump attic below. We hope these answers help you make the best decision and, most importantly, take care of your heat pump attic well.
If your question goes unanswered, we are always ready to answer you; feel free to reach out to us.
Can a heat pump go in the attic?
Yes, you can put a heat pump in the attic. Sometimes, it is due to a lack of floor space in the lower levels or for weather protection. If your HVAC contractor is proposing it to you, they could have analyzed the other possible options and deemed the attic the best space for heat pump installation.
Is HVAC in the attic a good idea?
Many HVAC contractors will discourage you from having an attic heat pump system. Yes, it indeed comes with some cons. However, if you prepare to counter these cons and maintain your HVAC in the attic well, you will certainly have an easy time. It is not such a bad idea, depending on how you manage the attic and the HVAC system in the first place.
Where should you not install a heat pump?
Places that will give a false impression of the actual temperature. For instance, avoid having heat pumps in poorly insulated attics, near showers or kitchens, near electronics that heat up, such as TVs, or under direct sunlight.
Why do they put AC units in the attic?
Attic HVAC units are great space savers. Many times, homeowners with space restrictions go for this option.
However, putting your heat pump in the attic has many other advantages, such as reduced noise and lowered installation costs.
What is the best way to heat the attic?
The easiest way to condition or heat your attic is to install a mini-split system with a heat pump or furnace.
Some people choose to extend the ductwork from the central system to the attic. This may work out well if the system is big enough to accommodate the attic. It may, however, not turn out well and significantly reduce the cooling of the conditioned space.
Ensure you consult with your HVAC technician concerning the size of your heat pump if you extend the ductwork to the attic.
Why should you not install a heat pump in the attic?
In many houses, an attic is one forgotten corner space. It makes sense to us when homeowners say they forgot about the heat pump in the attic. Many people forget to give the heat pumps in the regular attic maintenance as needed.
Also, it isn’t very easy to clean and even repair it.
Final Thoughts on Heat Pump in Attic
We have seen cases where experienced HVAC contractors disagree with homeowners when it comes to heat pump attic installation.
For instance, in this case, it becomes difficult for an HVAC contractor to make a good decision for you. The best way out in this situation is to discuss the pros and cons of a heat pump in the attic. With this analysis in mind, you should be able to decide while discussing it with your HVAC contractor.
However, while at it, talk to your technician about how to care for your heat pump in the attic. Ensure you know how to change air filters and fix clogged condensate drains. These routine maintenance tasks will help you keep your heating and cooling.
Feel free to contact us for heat pump installation Santa Clarita Ca.
Still not sure what HVAC system you need? Read about Heat Pump vs Air Conditioner
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