Are you considering getting a heat pump? Learning a bit about how they operate may help you in making your decision.
Heat pumps have the ability to both heat and cool and they may be able to reduce your overall utility costs. Heat pumps are used most often to for heating. They pull heat out of the air or the ground and the heat is used to warm the home. The system can be reversed to cool the home by removing the heat in the air.
A heat pump simply moves heat, or thermal energy, from an area at a higher temperature to an area of a lower temperature. This works to heat your home in colder weather and cool your home when it is hot. Heat pumps use a refrigerant that absorbs heat and then releases the heat as is it condensed. The pump can be switched from absorbing heat from the outside air and releasing inside to absorbing heat on the inside of the home and releasing it outside.
In additional to utility savings, heat pumps eliminate the need for two separate systems for heating a cooling. The efficiency improvement that comes from using a heat pump is that it uses heat that is already present. A heat pump does not need to burn fuel to produce heat. While these systems will not provide a complete solution in areas that experience extremes in hot or cold weather, they can provide savings when used in moderate climates. They can also be used in harsher climates as an alternative during milder weather periods.
Drawbacks with using heat pumps for heating and cooling include the potential for a reduced life span for the compressor. Because it runs in both the winter and summer, it will wear out more quickly. With proper maintenance and professional service, the compressor should last for long enough to make the system well worth the expense.
Homeowners that are used to traditional heat sources may need to adjust to the milder type of heat from a heat pump. Heat pumps do provide a more overall consistent heat, with less cold spots found in the home. Heat pumps also provide the same benefits of dehumidifying the air.