Guide to Buy a Used Wall-Mounted Heat Pump

Wall-mounted heat pumps are an excellent solution for homes without ventilation ducts.

Not only do heat pumps provide consistent climate control, but installing a wall-mounted system can also help significantly lower your energy bill. Factor in the cost-effectiveness of buying a used heat pump system, and you have a triple win. Considering a used heat pump, but don’t know where to start? We’ve put together this handy buying guide to help you choose the best wall-mounted heating and cooling system for your home.

Types of Wall-Mounted Heat Pumps
Almost all wall-mounted heat pumps are split systems, meaning they are made up of one outdoor unit and one or more indoor units. The outdoor unit contains the compressor, while a discreet indoor unit houses a fan that circulates warm or cool air.

There are two main types of split systems: single-zone systems, which are comprised of one outdoor unit connected to a single indoor unit; and multi-zone systems, which contain one outdoor unit connected to more than one indoor unit. Multi-zone systems are sometimes referred to as dual-zone heat pumps.

Buying Considerations
What makes one unit better than another? Here are a few things to look for when buying a used heat pump.

Energy Efficiency
Look for the EnerGuide label when shopping for an energy-efficient heat pump. This label displays the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of the unit. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the heat pump is. The EnerGuide label also rates the efficiency of other low and high efficiency models. For maximum energy efficiency, look for an ENERGY STAR qualified unit. These appliances carry a SEER rating of 13.0 or higher and use up to 20 percent less energy than conventional heat pumps, according to Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and the Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI).

Heating Efficiency
NRCan recommends choosing a heat pump system with as high an HSPF (heating efficiency rating) as possible. These higher-efficiency heat pumps typically use variable or dual-speed compressors. Newer heat pumps can have HSPFs of up to 8.6.

Size
Heat pumps are categorized in different sizes according to the amount of air they move. This capacity is measured in “tons.” While it’s possible to install a large enough system to heat or cool the entire home, doing so is generally not recommended. This is because in Canada, heating loads are larger than cooling loads. If your heat pump system is sized according to the heating load, the system will be unable to function efficiently in cooling mode. Choosing a heat pump that provides less than 125 percent of the cooling load will ensure optimal year-round performance.

Noise Considerations
Before buying a used wall-mounted heat pump, consider how much noise will be generated by the unit. In general, newer models are quieter than older ones. Look for a unit with an outdoor sound rating of 76 decibels or lower. This rating indicates the level of noise generated by the outdoor unit containing the compressor. It’s also a good idea to check your city’s by-laws with respect to the noise level of the unit.

Variable-Speed Motors
Variable-speed, or dual-speed, motors help maintain consistent air flow and climate control — which, in turn, lowers your energy costs. Variable-speed motors are also less noisy, as the motors on the blowers (indoor and outdoor fans) don’t need to run constantly.

Buying a used heat pump is one of the most economical ways to heat and cool your home. The above guide will help you sort through the many options available so you can find the right pump for your needs.