What You Need to Know about Heat Pumps

heat pump

When it comes to heating your home, you’ll find that you have lots of options. Even if a home utilizes a fireplace or wood-burning stove, chances are that most homes will feature one of the four following heating methods: gas furnace, heat pump, oil furnace, or boiler. If you’re considering investing in new heat pump system for your home, then you may have a few questions.

What Is A Heat Pump?

Simply put, a heat pump is a device that transfers (pumps) warm air into your house, as opposed to heating up the air that is already in your house. Because a heat pump is essentially just transporting already warm air where it needs to go, these systems can be reversed to either pump warm air into the house or pump warm air out of the house.

Note that heat pumps function best in moderate climates.

what is a heat pump

What Is The Difference Between A Heat Pump And A Furnace?

Furnaces and heat pumps both heat homes, but they do so in different ways. A furnace relies on burning oil or gas to produce heat while a heat pump does not create heat. Heat pumps use electricity to transfer heat – not produce it. Because the heat is transferred and not produced, this is more efficient. It also does not use any fuel source or gas lines.

What Is The Difference Between A Heat Pump And Air Conditioner?

A heat pump and an air conditioner both use closed-loop systems to regulate the air temperature in your home; however, there are a few differences between a heat pump and an AC unit:

  • Source of the air: In a heat pump, the air is pulled from outside of the home. With an AC unit, the air surrounding the evaporator coils is cooled and blown throughout the house.
  • Efficiency: Heat pumps are more efficient (even if they struggle a bit more during cold weather). What makes a heat pump more efficient? While other heating systems produce warm air, heat pumps simply move already warm air into your home. Moving warm air costs less than heating up colder air. Bonus: all of that efficiency saves homeowners money on their utility bills. Depending on your usage habits, energy savings could be upwards of 30-40%.
  • Installation: AC units, on average, cost less to install.
  • Versatility: Although heat pumps may cost more upfront, the biggest difference between a heat pump and an AC unit is that heat pump is versatile. For instance, AC units are used only to cool the air – not heat the air. On the other hand, a heat pump can be used during the warm months to cool your home; the heat is then pumped out of the house instead of into the house.
  • Dehumidifiers: Heat pumps are more powerful dehumidifiers than a typical AC unit.
XV20i variable speed heat pump system

Here’s an example of a Trane XV20i variable speed heat pump system.

Heat Pump Problems

Due to the nature of a heat pump, the biggest setback is limitations caused by the climate. As the refrigerant flows through the outdoor heat exchanger, ice is likely to accumulate on the coils, and this does reduce efficiency. When temperatures drop below 40F, take note that defrosting becomes necessary.

During particularly cold months, it may become necessary to use supplemental heating such as electrical heating or even a wood burning stove to heat your house.

Are You Considering A Heat Pump For Your Home?

Contact us to schedule a consultation.