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Heat Pumps 101

What Is A Heat Pump?

Whether you own a heat pump or buy a heat pump, knowing what this device can do is essential. Much like the name suggests, a heat pump is an HVAC device that redistributes heat from one area to another. Heat pumps can warm your home by taking any heat from the air outside and transferring it into your home. If it is frigid outside, there might not be much heat in the air, but thankfully heat pumps have an electric heater that can make up for this difference, and you will still be able to be cozy in your home during the winter.

Do Heat Pumps Only Heat Homes?

Despite the name, heat pumps actually can cool your home as well. Heat pumps can cool down a room by taking the heat from the room and transferring it outside. Likewise, heat pumps can use a refrigerant to cool down air between their coils and even absorb cold air from outside to cool your home. Think of a heat pump as an air conditioner that can also heat your home.

Types Of Heat Pumps: Ground Vs. Air

Not every heat pump operates the same and depending on your home, the setup of your heat pump system can vary slightly. Despite the variations, heat pumps still serve the same temperature control purposes.

Heat Pump Set-Up

There are two types of heat pumps, air source, and ground source heat pumps. We touched on air source heat pumps above, and they operate by drawing in air from the outside, which can then cool your home through a refrigerant or heat your home via a compressor.Then there are ground source heat pumps which use, you guessed it, the ground to cool your home. In simple terms, ground source heat pumps use a series of underground pipes called ground loops, which extract heat from the ground via water or other fluids. The fluids collected from the ground then pass through to a refrigerant to cool your home. Ground source heat pumps will heat your home by having the fluid pass through a compressor.

Planning Your Installation Budget

Depending on your budget, air-source heat pumps may be more cost effective upfront versus a ground source heat pump. With ground source heat pumps, the installation can be more expensive because you will need to hire professionals to dig up the soil around your property and plan where the pipes will be installed. Installation can be seamless with any professional construction crew, but surprise complications can arise when digging around your property that can add to your costs. With air source heat pumps, you may save more initially, and your most considerable construction costs will come from deciding whether you want to have a ductless or ducted system.

While air-source heat pumps are initially more cost-effective, they may not be as energy-efficient as their geothermal counterparts. Since air source heat pumps require heat from the environment outside, this means that in the winter, when there is less heat in the air, your air source heat pump will use more energy to heat your home. On the other hand, ground source heat pumps will use far less energy to heat and cool homes since the temperature underground is reasonably consistent. The question becomes whether you want to pay more upfront to save in the long run or have a lower installation cost to focus on the short term.

Energy Efficiency

Despite differences in setting up these systems, both heat pumps serve and function similarly. Regardless of which heat pump variation you choose, they can be a fantastic energy-efficient alternative for homeowners concerned about their carbon footprint and who want to cut down on gas or other fossil-fuel-based appliances. On top of helping the environment, heat pumps can save you money on your energy bills. Who doesn’t want to save money?

If you’d like to know which heat pump is right for you or have questions about your current heating system, give us a call at (972) 673-0408