What is a Heat Pump and Do I Need One?

Posted: 2020-03-26

Homeowners are more familiar with furnaces than heat pumps. Most homes, especially in colder climates, use furnaces to create a more comfortable living space. However, for regions with milder temperatures, operating a furnace can be excessive. You don’t have to spend too much just to get your desired temperatures. This is when a heat pump becomes a great option.

Four Seasons Air Specialists is your trusted HVAC company in North Oaks MN that offers an array of heat pumps designed to give you a versatile home heating and cooling system.

What is a Heat Pump?

As mentioned earlier, a heat pump is useful in climates with moderate heating and cooling needs. It is an energy-efficient alternative to a furnace or an air conditioner. Similar to a refrigerator, it uses electricity to move heat from a cool space to a warm space. Basically it makes a cool space cooler and a warm space warmer.

A heat pump is composed of four major parts:

  • a condenser
  • an expansion valve
  • an evaporator
  • and a compressor.

The transfer of heat from one place to another is made possible by a refrigerant.

This process uses less power compared to operating an air conditioner or a furnace, making heat pumps the most efficient alternative to fuel, oil, and electric HVAC systems. When properly installed, a heat pump can constantly achieve over 300 percent efficiency.

Types of Heat Pumps

There are three kinds of heat pumps: ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps, and absorption heat pumps.

Ground source heat pumps use geothermal energy to make your home comfortable. Underneath the earth, solar radiation keeps the temperature at a relatively consistent 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This is an effective source of heat in the winter. In the summer, it uses the earth as a heat sink.

Air source heat pumps draw and condense heat from the air outside and move it indoors. They are effective in drawing heat from the outside, even when the temperature is as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit. In the summer, the unit simply transfers the heat from the inside out.

Absorption heat pumps are essentially air source heat pumps powered not by electricity but by heat sources such as natural gas, propane gas, solar-heated water, or geothermal-heated water.

Benefits of Heat Pumps

In addition to their versatility, heat pumps also offer several other benefits, including:

Energy Efficiency

Heat pumps use less energy compared to regular air conditioners or furnaces. Since they only transfer warm or cool air from one place to another instead of generating it, a heat pump requires much less fuel compared to other HVAC systems. As a result, running a heat pump causes you to have lower monthly utility bills.

Consistent Comfort

With a heat pump, you’ll be concerned less about inconsistent heating and cooling, which is a common problem with conventional HVAC systems. A heat pump uses the same engineering to cool and heat your home, which means it is as good as a furnace or an air conditioner. The only difference is that a heat pump offers a more even comfort.

Less Maintenance

Compared to combustion heating systems, heat pumps require less maintenance. Under normal circumstances, certain details of the system have to be checked, which oftentimes do not require professional expertise. However, a qualified technician needs to check your system at least once every three or five years.

Longer Lifespan

Depending on usage and maintenance, a heat pump can last anywhere from 15 to 20 years, giving you more years to enjoy year-round comfort compared to other HVAC systems. This also gives you more time to save up for a brand new unit.

Ask the HVAC Gurus

If you are looking for a more energy-efficient way to heat and cool your home, you should seriously consider getting a heat pump. Not only is it versatile, but it also offers several benefits you can’t just ignore. If you have questions about heat pumps or any other HVAC system, be sure to call Four Seasons Air Specialists. It is our pleasure to accommodate all your White Bear heating and air conditioning needs.