As home climate control technology changes, so do the systems we use to heat and cool our homes. Heat pumps are among the most energy-efficient machines out there, and everyone is getting into the game.
With so many brands and different models to choose from, the list can get overwhelming. This article will examine Airtemp heat pumps, review their models, and give you all the information you need for a wise decision.
Not only will we cover the brand and their heat pump models, but we will also look at heat pump specifications, compare Airtemp to other brands and find out what it takes to choose the right model for your needs.
Airtemp – Building Quality Heat Pumps Since 1935
With a long history of innovation and excellence, Airtemp brings you an ever-changing lineup of heat pumps. They only offer the best in their products, and the quality, durability, and curbside appeal are more than apparent.
Instead of building a model for everyone in every area and appealing to every home like many brands, Airtemp focuses its attention on building a high-quality and affordable system that everyone wants.
They don’t have a lot of different models with minor alterations or changes. Instead, they focus on two models in the two categories (packaged and split) and build the best model they can.
Each Airtemp heat pump is backed by an all-parts 10-year warranty and a 1-year replacement warranty. That 1-year warranty will replace, without questions, any unit that has a major component failure within 12 months of install.
If you are planning on buying Airtemp, your purchase is backed by an industry-leading warranty and a company that has been around long enough to prove their worth and value.
Understanding Heat Pump Specifications
Before you head out and buy any heat pump, Airtemp or otherwise, there are several factors you should consider. Of course, you want to know the size, capacity, and BTU output of the model you select, but also you want to know about costs.
When you choose the HVAC technician to install your heat pump, they will go through your home and measure for size and capacity minimums. However, the costs and expectations or knowledge of expenses will fall on you.
Cost of the Heat Pump
The most considerable cost will be the unit itself. Prices for Airtemp heat pumps will vary slightly based on your location or US region where the unit is purchased. The general range based on a 2-ton model is between $1300 and $2500, dependent on your location, the model you are buying, and where you buy (or who you buy through).
You will also need to know and understand installation costs. These fees will vary greatly and have a lot of factors. For example, it is cheaper if it is a new construction install as there are fewer items in the way or obstacles that need adjusting.
If it is an upgrade install, you may be charged for old unit removal and disposal, new ducting (if needed), and refrigerant recovery or disposal. The hourly labor fee for your chosen contractor will also depend on several factors.
However, in general, you can expect to pay between $65 and $125 per hour for labor, plus other applicable fees or charges based on the total project needs. All told, you should expect a range between $2500 and $5500 for an average heat pump installation.
Yearly maintenance costs will fall between $300 and $500 on average; This should include your air filter changes, coil cleanings, and other DIY factors, as well as an annual inspection. The inspection is the largest cost and is optional.
However, it is highly recommended you have a professional HVAC tech perform an annual inspection at least as long as your warranty is active. Not only will the inspection clean and recharge your system as needed, but it will also find and perform any minor repairs along the way.
Most importantly, though, that inspection will uncover any potential problems or issues before they become costly repairs.
Another concern for many owners is noise levels. Airtemp does have some of the loudest models on the market, with high-speed ranges topping out near 78 to 80 decibels (dB). In most situations, though, louder units aren’t going to be an issue.
However, it is something to note if you plan to install the heat pump under a window or near a property line with close neighbors.
As mentioned above, the warranty coverage begins with a 12-month full replacement warranty. This goes into effect if there is a major component failure. In the case of the heat pump, it refers to the compressor. All other parts are covered for 10 years with proper and timely registration.
If the unit purchase is not registered within 60 days, the warranty reverts to 5 years coverage on all parts, and the 12-month replacement warranty is voided.
SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) & HSPF Ratings
When choosing the best heat pump for your home, there are two major ratings you need to be aware of. SEER and HSPF ratings are given to the consumer so they can tell, at a glance, the overall efficiency of the system.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER, is the efficiency rating for the system’s cooling mode. It takes the combined wattage intake of the compressor compared to the overall BTU output. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the system is.
When shopping for high SEER ratings, you want to go with a unit that has a minimum of 14 SEER. Anything over 14 is good, with 18 to 20 SEER being great and the few 21+ SEER models considered excellent.
Likewise, the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) is the rating for the wattage to BTU ratio in heating mode. While a smaller number, it is still a great indicator of the system’s efficiency as a whole.
Anything above 8 HSPF is good, with 11+ HSPF being great. When buying for efficiency, a combined 14 SEER and 8 HSPF minimum will help you qualify for the energy efficiency tax credit as well (more information further below).
Airtemp Heat Pump Range (Side by Side Comparison)
In the chart below, we will look at the current models from Airtemp and compare them side by side on efficiency ratings, compressor options, available tonnage, and costs.
Note that the costs are both unit only and unit with installation. These costs are averaged across the country based on a 2.5-ton unit (or 3 ton if 2.5 is not available).
|Heat Pump Model||SEER||Ton||Home Size||Compressor Type||HSPF||Cost (Unit Only)||Cost + Install|
|VSH1BE||15||1.5 – 5 ton||900 – 3300 sq. ft.||Single-Stage||8.5||$2350||$5300|
|VSH1BF||16||2 – 5 ton||1200 – 3300 sq. ft.||Single-Stage (2-stage for 5 ton)||9||$2550||$5500|
|VQ7RE||14||2 – 5 ton||1200 – 3300 sq. ft.||Single Stage||8||$1775||$4700|
|VQ6SE||14||2 – 5 ton||1200 – 3300 sq. ft.||Single Stage||8||$1425||$4400|
Airtemp Heat Pump In-Depth Reviews
The current range of Airtemp heat pump models can be broken down into two groups: packaged and split. A packaged system is one where all of the compressor, condenser, and evaporator components are all contained within the same cabinet. The entire system is installed outside the home.
A split system, then, is when the condenser and compressor are in one cabinet, and the evaporator is in a separate cabinet. The condenser and compressor are installed outside the home while the evaporator is installed inside. Let’s look at the four current models in more detail.
VSH1BE Series Airtemp Heat Pump
The VSH1BE is the most popular model based on ratings, reviews, and purchase amounts. It is one of the two split system models and features a lower price than the BF model (see below) but also has a slightly lower efficiency rating.
This system will max out with 15 SEER and 8.5 HSPF, and it is Energy Star certified. All of these combined qualify it for the tax credit program if you are looking to save more money. Installation of this system is designed as new construction or central air conditioner replacement and upgrade.
It also comes in 1.5 to 5 ton sizes in half-ton increments. You can get the perfect size for your home and maximize your energy efficiency. Like all Airtemp models, it comes with a 10-year parts and 1-year replacement warranty and is relatively simple to install, making those charges and fees more straightforward.
VSH1BF Series Airtemp Heat Pump
The VSH1BF model is slightly more efficient than the BE model listed above. It is also a split system and Energy Star certified. The two split systems are the only two Airtemp heat pumps that qualify for the $300 tax credit.
With this model, you can reach a maximum of 16 SEER when paired with a matching air handler. It also provides 9 HSPF and comes in 2 to 5 ton sizes.
What you get here, though, is a split system heat pump that will work year-round and keep your home at the ideal temperature. It is interesting to note that this is also the only model to offer a two-stage compressor.
The only two-stage compressor option, though, is on the 5-ton model. All other Airtemp heat pumps and all other VSH1BF models (except the 5-ton) use single-stage compressors. They aren’t the quietest models around, either.
Even with the sound-compression compressors and muffled airflow, these units still produce between 73 and 78dB of noise, which is among the highest in the industry.
VQ7RE Series Airtemp Packaged Heat Pump
The final two models make up the Airtemp packaged system heat pumps. The VQ7RE model features a single cabinet that can be installed on a roof or a slab and is designed for horizontal airflow installation.
Like most other models, this one is available in 2 to 5 tons capacity and produces 14 SEER with 8 HSPF efficiency ratings. Using round duct connectors and a simple refrigerant line access, the biggest draw to these models is the installer and maintenance access.
Large panels are quickly and easily removed, giving you (or your technician) easy access to the system’s components. The galvanized steel cabinet is also coated with a 1.5mil thick salt-spray finish to help fight corrosion better than many other brands.
There are also many safety features installed in the unit, including high and low pressure limit switches, suction accumulators, and line filter driers. Plus, it comes with a 5-minute restart time delay. This prevents the compressor from overheating or taking damage during a power cycle or power outage.
VQ6SE Series Airtemp Packaged Heat Pump
The VQ6SE model is similar to the 7RE model in a lot of ways. It features the same safety aspects, galvanized and coated cabinet, and quick access panels.
The main difference here is that this 6SE unit is designed for convertible airflow, so you have more installation options. It also features square duct connectors making it fit more applications for ducting in modern homes.
If you need round connectors, there are adapters available, of course, so you aren’t limited here (with either model). The 6SE is available in 2 to 5 ton options and, when paired with a compatible air handler, will produce 14 SEER and 8 HSPF efficiencies to help manage your electric usage year-round.
And of course, like all Airtemp models, this one also comes with the 10-year parts and 1-year full replacement warranties. Installation for this (and the 7RE) model is slightly higher due to the weight and installation measurement requirements. However, it is still cheaper than most other packaged systems of comparable size.
Comparing Airtemp with Other Heat Pumps Brands
How do Airtemp heat pumps review and compare to other major heat pump brands? We put Airtemp to the test by comparing it with Comfortmaker, Payne, and Coleman heat pumps to find out.
Airtemp Vs Comfortmaker
Comfortmaker heat pumps are designed for low and mid-range budgets. They offer 11 different models ranging from 14 to 19 SEER efficiency ratings and come in 1.5 to 5 ton sizes. The main drawback to Comfortmaker is that they are also a sub-brand.
As a part of the Carrier/Bryant family, they are made from older Carrier cabinets and don’t come with many added features. The Ion Series line is the best of the bunch and comes with a variable speed compressor option and several two-stage compressor models.
Unfortunately, if you plan on buying a Comfortmaker, you need to be in the right region. They split the country in sales with Heil, Tempstar, and Day & Night heat pumps, all the same models and builds. The only difference being where they are sold.
Compared directly to Airtemp, the warranties are less impressive with Comfortmaker, but the options and better compressors are worthy of a second look. When upgrading from an older central air system, though, you can’t go wrong with either option.
Airtemp Vs Payne
Like Airtemp, Payne heat pumps come in only four options. Payne does have a slightly better energy efficiency range, topping out at 17 SEER and 9.5 HSPF. However, they don’t have the full replacement warranty like Airtemp. Both brands offer a 10-year parts warranty, though, but Payne doesn’t require that you register the purchase to increase the warranty period.
The split systems from Payne are all dual-fuel capable, as long as you purchase the correct, matching furnace. If you only want electric heat and air, they are compatible with that as well.
Installation of Payne systems is made easier with their quick view fill windows and easy access panels, which help limit the fees generally associated with installation. Overall, Payne has a great lineup, though limited, and is priced to compete with all brands, including Airtemp.
Airtemp Vs Coleman
Coleman makes heat pumps in 6 different styles. Their models are some of the most durable and economical on the market, though they are behind in popularity. As awareness of the brand grows, though, so does the technology and performance of the brand.
You will find much higher SEER ratings with Coleman compared to Airtemp, with the low-end models still being 15 SEER. The top of the line unit, the HC20, reaches 21 SEER for maximum efficiency.
You will pay more for Coleman than Airtemp, though, and the warranty is about the same. Both brands will require you to register your purchase to get the full warranty, and Airtemp has an easier install, lowering the overall initial costs just a bit.
Do I Qualify For A HVAC Tax Credit?
Qualifying for the federal tax credit program is fairly simple. There are only a few requirements involved, and most of them have to do with the unit you plan to purchase.
The two requirements that aren’t tied to the unit itself are about your home. You must be the homeowner and currently live in the residence. Rental properties do not qualify for the credit.
As for the unit itself, the major requirements are that it must be Energy Star certified and be professionally installed. Once those are confirmed, the only requirements left are the SEER and HSPF minimums (units must meet both).
For packaged systems, the minimums are 14 SEER and 8 HSPF. For split systems, the minimums are 15 SEER and 8.5 HSPF. As long as you have the system installed before December 31, 2021, and meet these few requirements, you are good to go.
Power Consumption Of Heat Pumps: The Formula
If you want to know how much your new system will cost you to run over any given period, there is a formula for that.
With the simple formula, you can get a good idea of the running costs depending on the model of your Airtemp heat pump and the average temperature outside. If you want a less accurate estimate, the formula can do that, too.
The basic formula looks like this: kW x $kWh x H x D = $cost. The Hours (H) and Days (D) are what you will input based on how often the system runs per day (average is about 5 hours during peak usage) and how many days you want to know the costs for (90 per season, 180 for 2 seasons, etc.).
The kilowatts (kW) are how many watts (divided by 1000) the system draws. And finally, the cost per kilowatt-hour ($kWh) is the amount you pay the electric company for your electric usage.
Here is where it varies. If you want a general estimate, you take the overall wattage of the system as shown on the ID plate of the unit. Enter the information into the formula and multiply across to get your answer.
Airtemp, though, allows you to get even more accurate. Inside their model-specific technical specifications, they will list the kilowatts used by each sized model at various temperatures. You can use these numbers depending on the time of year and average temperature expectations to get a more accurate usage calculation.
For example, the 2-ton VSH1BE model has a total wattage listing of 3312 watts, or 3.312kW. However, in heat mode, when on medium speed with the ambient temperature being 70 degrees inside and 50 degrees outside (Fahrenheit), the wattage draw is only 1.86kW (listed on page 8). Knowing these measurements, you can get a more accurate cost analysis of your system.
For example, if we have a 4200-watt system (4.2 kW) running 4 hours per day for 90 days at 12 cents per kilowatt-hour, the formula looks like this:
4.2 x $0.12 x 4 x 90 = $181.44.
Tips For Hiring A Licensed Heating & Cooling Contractor
When hiring a professional HVAC contractor, it can be difficult to know if they are reliable, affordable, and reputable. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your contractor hiring experience.
- Always get at least 3 quotes. Your contractor should come in person to inspect the home and set up to know what costs to add to the estimate.
- Ask questions. Make sure you find out what each charge is for, which are optional, and what your options are to help lower the cost.
- Talk to other customers. You can look online for reviews or ratings of the company or ask people you know that have used them in the past. Find out about their professionalism, timeliness, and care for the equipment and project as a whole.
- Ask for certifications and licenses. All contractors must be EPA 608 certified, and most states require licensing for all HVAC technicians. Ensure your chosen company meets all legal requirements.
If all of this seems a bit daunting for you, we can help. We have partnered with Networx to offer you a free contractor locator tool. This will return results of local contractors that are thoroughly checked, rated, and reviewed, doing all of the hard work for you.
When you call for your estimates, you know that the companies you call are already vetted and professional; all that’s left is their fees and costs.
Troubleshooting Tips & FAQs
In this section, we will answer some of the most common Airtemp questions and help troubleshoot common heat pump problems.
Where can I buy Airtemp heat pump replacement parts?
You can find Airtemp replacement parts anywhere HVAC equipment is sold. HVAC specialty shops will be your best bet, as long as you know your model and serial number to get the right part. You can also shop online through sites like Amazon to get some of the parts delivered right to your door.
My Airtemp Heat Pump Trips Breaker When Turned On
If the heat pump continuously trips your breakers when it turns on, it means there is excessive power draw in the system. There are several causes for this, but most require a professional for diagnosis.
What you can do on your own, though, is check for proper cooling and airflow of the system. Inspect the air filter for clogs or damage and replace it as needed. You also want to check the fans and coils for damage, dirt, or debris build-up. Clean the coils and fans as needed.
If the problem persists, you will need the help of a trained HVAC technician for proper diagnosis and repair.
Airtemp Heat Pump Doesn’t Turn On
If the heat pump doesn’t turn on at all, again, there can be several causes. The most frequent reason is an accidental shut-off at the thermostat. You want to double-check your thermostat to ensure it is turned on, powered up, and has the right mode selected. Often a thermostat will accidentally get switched to heating mode when you need it to cool.
You also want to check the outside unit for frost, ice, or debris build-up. Maintain clean coils and a working condenser fan will ensure your compressor doesn’t overheat. If all of these things check out, it is time to call in a pro for diagnosis.
Where can I find an Airtemp heat pump wiring diagram?
Airtemp wiring diagrams are found on the inside of the access panels. Each model will have one for each component (one on a packaged system and two for a split system). If you cannot locate the diagram, you can also find proper wiring diagrams online through the Airtemp site, through your local dealer, or by contacting your HVAC contractor that installed the system.
How do I reset my Airtemp heat pump?
Airtemp requires a power cycle reset of the system. Depending on your model and installation type, you can have one, two, or three breakers in your circuit panel that will need to be turned off.
After a 2 to 3 minute wait period, turn the breakers back on and wait for the system to turn back on. This can take up to 10 minutes before the system starts running, so give it time to fully reset and start working again.
At what temperature does a heat pump become ineffective?
Airtemp heat pumps are rated to work to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. After the temperature outside drops below 40 degrees, though, the efficiency starts to fade. By 21 degrees, it is normal to require supplemental heating to help the system out.
Airtemp may not be the biggest name in HVAC systems, but they are one of the oldest. The dedication to quality, durability, and selection are among the best in the business. While their heat pump selection is limited to four models, you can still find exactly what you need.
Each model has its own set of pros and cons, and they all come in various sizes and capacities. Depending on the size of your home, where you plan to install it, and if you need a packaged or split system, Airtemp has you covered.
Our Rating: (4 / 5)