A heat pump is a refrigeration system that can be used to heat or cool a space. Most heat pumps consist of an indoor and an outdoor unit that makes them somewhat similar to central air conditioners. Both air conditioners and heat pumps utilize the same closed loop technology but they deploy it in different ways. Here are some facts about heat pumps including ways that they can enhance your heating and air conditioning system.
How a Heat Pump Cools
When in cooling mode, it evaporates the refrigerant in the indoor coil which draws heat from the indoor air. The cool air is distributed through your house with a fan and your home’s ductwork. The gas is then compressed and passed to the outdoor coil where it condenses. The condensation releases the heat to the outdoor air. The process is reversed when heating your home as the heat pump evaporates the refrigerant in the outdoor coil and compresses it before sending it to the indoor coil.
Heating and Air Conditioning Benefits of a Heat Pump
- Energy Efficiency
When a heat pump is properly installed it can provide extremely efficient heating and cooling, more so than a regular heating and air conditioning setup. This is especially so if the climate where you live is warm or moderate. The main reason for this efficiency is that a heat pump does not generate heat; rather, it moves it. Also, because it uses electricity as a fuel source, you will be able to save a lot on fuel costs when compared to the cost of a standard heating and air conditioning system.
- Improved Indoor Air Quality
If you struggle with high humidity levels in your home, a heat pump can be beneficial. Humidity can make your home feel overly warm and thus uncomfortable in addition to causing mold and mildew problems. While an air conditioner can help to remove moisture, it may not be feasible to operate it when temperatures are mild. A heat pump can use lower speeds to remove moisture from indoor air without unnecessary cooling.
- Environmental Friendliness
Unlike gas furnaces or wood burning stoves, there is no combustion and therefore none of the associated pollution.
Different Types of Heat Pumps
- Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pumps
These are for homes without ducts and are therefore ideal for homes that use non-ducted heating systems. Their small size and flexibility also help you to cool or heat individual rooms unlike a central heating and air conditioning system.
- Geothermal Heat Pumps
These use the temperature of the ground or a water source rather than the temperature of the outside air. The result is that the system is more efficient during very cold weather when compared to heat pumps that use outside air.
- Absorption Heat Pumps
This type of heat pump does not use electricity. Instead, it may use natural gas, propane or another heat source. Natural gas is the most common fuel source and these heat pumps are commonly called gas-fired heat pumps. They are only really practical in homes with no electricity source.
Heat pumps provide a number of practical benefits. Knowing how a heat pump works and how it is different from a standard heating and air conditioning system can help you to select the model that is right for your home. Contact us for more information on how to make the best choice.