What is a Heat Pump?

Carrier Heat Pump

Carrier Split System Heat Pump

Heat pumps provide energy-efficient solutions

What is a heat pump? Heat pumps offer an energy-efficient alternative to furnaces and air conditioners. Like your refrigerator, heat pumps use electricity to move heat from a cool space to a warm space, making the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer. During the winter months, heat pumps move heat from the cool outdoors into your warm house and during the summer season, heat pumps move heat from your cool house into the warm outdoors. Because they move heat rather than generate heat, heat pumps can provide equivalent space conditioning at as little as one quarter of the cost of operating conventional heating or cooling appliances.

Before you rush off and purchase a heat pump, you need to know that there are different kinds of heat pumps and some work better in different climates.

Air Source Heat Pump

The most common type of heat pump is the air-source heat pump, which transfers heat between your house and the outside air. If you heat with electricity, a heat pump can trim the amount of electricity you use for heating by as much as 30% to 40%. High-efficiency heat pumps also dehumidify better than standard central air conditioners, resulting in less energy usage and more cooling comfort in summer months. Air source heat pumps are best in moderate climates.

Split System Heat Pumps

Split system is a type of air source heat pump which sits outside your home like a central air conditioner unit and utilize a fan coil inside. Alternatively, they can be used with a gas furnace and evaporator coil inside as part of an ultra-efficient Hybrid Heat® system. In Minnesota and the Upper Midwest, fan coils are almost never used, it’s all gas furnaces or electric furnaces and evaporator coils – or “A coils”.

Ductless heat pumps

Ductless heat pumps are another style of air source heat pump and the no-brainer solution for cooling and seasonal heating if your home has no existing ductwork or you have a room addition or other special need.

Dual-Fuel Heat Pump System

A dual-fuel heat pump uses a normal air-source heat pump and adds a secondary gas furnace system. This allows the heat pump to operate efficiently as an air conditioner in the summer and provides high efficiency heating for the majority of the winter but can switch to the gas furnace if the winter becomes too cold. This is another cost-effective system to comfortably and efficiently heat and cool your home.

Most heat pumps can heat the home for about 75 to 80% of the winter. It’s only the 20 to 25% of the winter, the coldest days, that we would let the gas furnace take over the heating duties.

Geo-Thermal Heat Pump System

A geo-thermal heat pump, or water source heat pump, uses anti-freeze circulating through pipes in the ground as a heat source instead of the outside air. It can be more expensive to install, but geo-thermal heat pumps benefit from higher efficiencies due to the stable temperatures of the ground . They also work in extreme winter temperatures without the need of a traditional secondary gas furnace. If you’re looking for an energy-efficient heating and cooling solution, geothermal heat pumps have plenty of upside all year long—especially come tax time. These units are still eligible for Federal tax credits worth up to 30% off the installed cost.

Heat pumps are a good investment as they lower your energy consumption and your energy costs, as well. If you are considering a heat pump as your next source for cooling and heating, contact your local HVAC company and discuss what options will work best for your home, in your particular climate, and with your budget in mind.

Minnesota furnace repair

For home maintenance and comfort tips, visit StayComfyMinnesota.com! Stay Comfy, Minnesota is your Minnesota resource for air conditioning repair, furnace repair and HVAC tips and advice.

About Ed Heil

Owner of StoryTeller Media & Communications an inbound marketing and digital PR agency in Bloomington, MN.
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