Heat pumps have been slow to catch on in the world of residential HVAC systems, perhaps in part because many consumers still don't know much about them. The more you know about heat pumps, the easier it will be to decide whether or not a heat pump is right for your home.
How does a heat pump work?
A heat pump is an electric device that operates by moving heat from one location to another, much like an air conditioner. Inside the heat pump, coolant is trapped inside the coils. When the coolant expands, its temperature drops. The chilled coolant absorbs heat from the air and is moved to another part of the coil, where it's compressed and heated. After that, the heat is released.
This process allows the heat pump to move heat as needed. When a house is hot, heat can be moved from inside the house to the outside. When the house is cold, the heat pump can take heat from outside the house and move it to the inside. Unlike air conditioners, heat pumps have reversible purposes. This is why heat pumps can be used as a furnace or as an air conditioner, as needed.
What's the advantage of a heat pump?
A heat pump is highly efficient, and if your home is heated with an electric furnace, a heat pump can reduce the amount of electricity you use for heating by as much as 30 or 40%. In addition, if your home relies on a heat pump, you'll have only one appliance to maintain for your heating and cooling needs. Heat pumps can be made ductless in homes that have no ducts. And finally, high-efficiency heat pumps dehumidify more effectively than air conditioners.
How can you tell if a heat pump is right for your home?
Heat pumps will work anywhere, but in areas of the country where the temperature drops to extreme lows in the winter, heat pumps are far less efficient. With less heat outside the house to move to the inside, the heat pump switches to an auxiliary heater inside the home, and this auxiliary heater is often less efficient than a standard furnace.
If you live in an area of the country where the winters are mild, a heat pump could be an excellent appliance for your home. Heating contractors, like Erickson Plumbing & Heating, in your area will be able to tell you whether or not a heat pump would be right for you. Contact a qualified HVAC contractor in your area to find out more.