A Window Heat Pump Does It All

A window heat pump lives a double life. In the summer, it gives you all the cold air you need while reducing interior humidity. In the winter, the whole system works in reverse to give you warm air instead of cold. How does it do that? Let’s find out.

What is a Window Heat Pump?

A window heat pump is a device that provides a dual source of heating and cooling. As the name suggests, it is mounted in a window frame. It allows the room or space to benefit from cold air in the summer and warm air in the winter.

Window Heat Pump is Cheapest Option

How Does a Window Heat Pump Work?

A window heat pump operates in either air conditioning mode or heating mode. As an air conditioner, it removes warm air from your room and transfers it through a coil that contains refrigerant gas. This process extracts the heat and expels it outside, and then circulates chilled air back into the room.

As a source of heat, the window heat pump works in reverse, drawing in air from the outside and passing it through the coil and refrigerant to warm it. This heated air is then transferred into your room.

Is a Window Heat Pump Energy-Efficient?

Cooling Efficiency

A typical window heat pump is measured for its air conditioning efficiency in two different ways: Combined Energy Efficiency Ratio (CEER) and Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). The two are different because the EER gets measured against the air conditioner working while the room temperature is at a constant 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The CEER also factors in the power the unit uses when it is switched on but non-operational.

For that reason, the CEER is slightly less than the EER. There is another rating called SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating), and this is applied to split and central HVAC systems.

The Department of Energy (DOE) introduced CEER in 2014 as the new standard, but many window heat pumps and air conditioning units still show the EER values.

Heating Efficiency

When in heat mode, window heat pump performance is measured by the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF). The HSPF is calculated by dividing the seasonal BTU by the amount of energy used over an identical period.

Heat pumps are required to have a minimum HSPF of 7.7, but some heat pumps have an HSPF of 13, making them very efficient. To qualify for the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) recognized Energy Star status, a rating of 8.2 is needed.

Choosing the Right Size Window Heat Pump

What Size Window Heat Pump Do I Need?

The capacity of your window heat pump depends on the number of BTUs, more commonly known as British Thermal Units. To calculate a BTU, or a unit of heat, you need to see the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

This tells you how capable your window heat pump is at removing or adding heat to the room. The Higher the BTUs, the more potent the heat pump.

Once you’ve decided on the BTU capacity, you then need to factor in the climate where you live. Colder states like Alaska will require less focus on cooling and more on heating. The reverse is true of Florida.

Is A Window Heat Pump Loud?

Window heat pumps typically have an operating volume of about 65 dB. To give you a point of reference, normal conversation in an office or restaurant registers at roughly 60 dB. So, you will hear some noise, but it shouldn’t be unbearable. And after a while, you will hopefully get used to it. You may even find it a soothing source of white noise.

Just as with window-mounted air conditioning units, window heat pumps have a fan and compressor situated inside the unit. These two elements make the most noise. Split and central systems have the compressor mounted outdoors.

Why Choose a Window Heat Pump?

There are many reasons why you might opt for a window-mounted heat pump. The first is that it is the cheapest option when compared to split and central HVAC options. Not everyone has the cash to burn, but everyone deserves to be cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Plus, if you live in a smaller space like a mobile home, a window-mounted heat pump might have all the capacity you need. Why pay for more significant and more thirsty systems when it is unnecessary?

According to the most recent US Census, 36.6% of households live in rented accommodation. This figure is close to the 1965 high of 37%. So, if you are one of the 36.6% and you want a source of heating and cooler air, a window heat pump could be your best option. It is affordable, easy to install, and best of all, it causes no damage to the building.

Plus, not everyone lives in a house, with approximately two in 10 Americans living in apartments or condos. According to the 2010 census, there were 194.3 million adults living in the US, between the ages of 18 to 64. So, if you do the math, that equates to over 38 million people living in apartments or condos. If they want to benefit from the heating and cooler air, the simplest option available to them is a window heat pump.

Window Heat Pump Cost

You should expect to pay about $500 for a basic model. For a more advanced window heat pump, the price can quickly jumps to over $1,000. The 9k BTU 9.9 EER Amana Heat Pump Window Unit is an excellent example of a window heat pump, and it starts at less than $850. If you want the top model in this range, it will cost you over $1,100.

But you are getting cooling and heating in one. Window heat pumps cost more than window A/C units because they give you double the value.

What to Look for in a Window Heat Pump

What to Look for in a Window Heat Pump

Washable Air Filters - These filters are reusable, which means you don’t have to pay for expensive replacements, and they are better for the environment because nothing goes to the landfill. By having a washable filter, not only do you get more cooling air circulating inside your room, but you also get fresher air.

Programmable Timer - This gives you the ability to set and forget. Once you have programmed your timer, the heat pump does the rest. So, there will be no more walking into a cold room when you get back from work. The heat pump can kick in while you are on your commute home.

CFM - This stands for Cubic Feet per Minute, and it is a measure of the heat pump’s capacity to circulate air. The higher the CFM, the fresher and cooler the air is in the room. 50 CFM should be enough to handle rooms of 1,000 square feet, but the 9k BTU 9.9 EER Amana Heat Pump Window Unit has a CFM of over 500, so it is easily up to the task.

Remote Control - Everything else is remote controlled these days, so why not your heat pump? You’ll never have to leave your armchair again. Well, maybe to go to the bathroom.

WiFi Controls - There seems to be an app for absolutely everything, so why not for your window-mounted heat pump. Controlling your heat pump from a smart device is the ultimate in convenience.

Fan Only Option - Some heat pumps allow you to just run the fan to circulate air in the room. This saves energy and money, a bit like an eco-mode.

Ball Bearing Motors - They are quieter and more efficient.

Final Thoughts

Window heat pumps are a great all-rounder. They heat, cool, and filter the air in our rooms and spaces. Window-mounted heat pumps are easy to install and relatively inexpensive to buy when compared to central HVAC systems.

They are ideal if you want to avoid the expense of retrofitting ducting and pipework, and if you live in a small space or apartment, they are the heat pump of choice.

A window heat pump might be your next best purchase!

20 comments (view/add)
  • Donald
    Posted on 7/2/2023

    What is the Power Factor (PF)?

    I assume it is inverter drive. Many US model products just have rectifier/capacitor front end on VFD, which is a problem for my solar backup inverters.
    European standards require higher power factor (current draw closer to sine wave, like a resistive load.)

  • Rebekah Quarles
    Rebekah Quarles from Ingrams
    Posted on 8/7/2023

    There is not a specific product referenced in this article, so we are unsure we can answer this question. Please give us a call at 270-575-9595.

  • Molly
    Posted on 7/2/2023

    We have a 5600 sq home built in 1970's. It use to be a church and then a school. It has two large electric force air furnaces that cost an arm and leg to run. We priced installing more efficient systems. Gas (w/ pre-existing ducts) were 28K. Heat pump would have been about 40K plus the cost of updating the electrical system. Ouch!. We installed 8 window heat pump units 8 years ago and they have been doing a beautiful job in Southern Oregon and the cost to run has been reasonable.

  • Tuna
    Posted on 2/7/2023

    Oops now people are advertising here they weren’t when the rebates first were announced. Still wondering if the ac/heat window unit is avail for rebates, though.

  • Tina
    Posted on 2/7/2023

    Are these eligible for the energy rebate from President Biden? I have been trying to find a mini split but none are here in Alaska (Anchorage) nor does anyone install the outdoor units that I can find.

  • Rebekah Quarles
    Rebekah Quarles from Ingrams
    Posted on 2/13/2023

    A window heat pump unit should be covered under the Inflation Reduction Act's rebates. If you are interested in a mini-split, though, you can install the MrCool DIY Ductless Mini-Split without the assistance of an HVAC professional. It is also covered under the rebates.

  • Mark
    Posted on 6/7/2022

    Will window heat pump keep working when it’s below zero outside?
    Thanks…great article

  • Rebekah Muller
    Rebekah Muller from Ingrams
    Posted on 6/9/2022

    It may depend on what the system, but typically, it would not.

  • S. Brandt
    S. Brandt
    Posted on 3/1/2022

    How many fans does a window heat pump have? The fan stopped working in heat mode but appears to be ok in a\c mode

  • Rebekah Muller
    Rebekah Muller from Ingrams
    Posted on 3/7/2022

    Please give us a call at 270-575-9595.

  • Barry ambrose Jarrard
    Barry ambrose Jarrard
    Posted on 9/28/2021

    I have a Haiser window ac unit with dehum how can I get this unit to work as a heater in the winter

  • Dan Danowski
    Dan Danowski from Ingrams
    Posted on 9/29/2021

    Technically, it might be possible to convert an existing window air conditioner into a heat pump. In practice it would almost certainly be cheaper and easier to just buy a new window heat pump.

  • Kopernikas Green
    Kopernikas Green
    Posted on 5/21/2021

    Its important note- There seems to be an app for absolutely everything, so why not for your window-mounted heat pump. Controlling your heat pump from a smart device is the ultimate in convenience. Thanks

  • Dan Danowski
    Dan Danowski from Ingrams
    Posted on 5/22/2021

    If we find a window heat pump with smart device control, we will let you know.

  • Don
    Posted on 1/28/2021

    It is important to note- that the window heat pumps -stop heating at 39F. vs mini splits heat fdown to 7F to -22F.

  • Jim Butts
    Jim Butts
    Posted on 9/29/2020

    I am needing to heat a hobby greenhouse that is 15 lL 10 w & 9 ft ceiling. Is there a window type Air Cond/ Heat pump combo available that will produce heat output of 35,000 BTU or greater.

  • Dan Danowski
    Dan Danowski from Ingrams
    Posted on 10/5/2020

    We don't have any window units that can heat at that capacity. However, you could always look at mini-split units. https://iwae.com/shop/heating-air-conditioning/full-systems/ductless-split-systems/?series=716

  • Harvey Griffin
    Harvey Griffin
    Posted on 6/5/2020

    Is a window heat pump as good as a mrcool dyi heat pump

  • Kyle
    Kyle from Ingrams
    Posted on 6/8/2020

    Window units definitely have their place, but we generally consider a mini-split to be a superior heating and cooling option. They're typically more powerful, they don't take up a window, and they're quieter. They're also more efficient. We would almost always recommend a mini-split, MrCool or otherwise, over a window unit.

  • Kurt Nienhusser
    Kurt Nienhusser
    Posted on 6/2/2020

    Thanks a lot for the article and it was very instructive to me. Today I learn something new!

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