What is a Heat Pump?

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What is a Heat Pump?

What is a Heat Pump?

The climate in southern California means heating and cooling needs are more moderate than in other areas of theheat-pump country. While furnaces suit many residents just fine, the more energy conscious choose heat pumps to help them stay warm in the cooler months.

Sometimes referred to as a central heating and cooling unit, heat pumps perform the job of two units in one by warming your home when it’s cold and cooling your home when it’s hot.

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How They Work

Many people falsely assume that heat pumps generate heat when in actuality; they act as the catalyst in transferring heat from one location to another using only a small amount of energy. They are usually used to pull heat from the ground or air to heat your home in colder months, and can be switched to work in reverse by pulling heat from inside your home and expel it outside during the hotter months.

Since heat pumps do not burn fuel to generate heat, they are considered much more energy efficient than a furnace or boiler. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heat pumps can provide up to 4 times the amount of energy they consume.

Popular Types of Heat Pumps

While all heat pumps are considerably more efficient than say, using a furnace to heat your home, some are better than others. Geothermal heat pumps are among the most energy efficient models of heat pumps available. They work by transferring heat between the ground or a nearby water source and your home. While they have low operating costs, the can be more expensive to install.

Air-source heat pumps on the other hand, are relatively inexpensive to install and are probably the most common kind of heat pump available today. Air-source heat pumps work best in moderate climates where temperatures do not dip below freezing for any extended period of time. With an air-source heat pump, a liquid refrigerant is pumped through coils and a fan pulls outside air over the coils. Liquid inside them absorbs the heat and generates vapor. The heated vapor is sent through a compressor to increase the temperature before flowing to the indoor coils. The heat is then pumped into your home’s ductwork and distributed throughout the house.

While heat pumps can perform their function successfully in most all climates, some may require assistance from a back up unit. There are several kinds of heat pumps available on the market today, including ductless varieties for homes with no ductwork. It’s suggested you consult with a professional to learn what type is best for your home. Installing the wrong kind could mean you might end up paying more in energy costs.

Purchasing a Heat Pump

If you’re considering a heat pump for your home, you should know that today, they are one-and-a-half to two times more efficient than heat pumps available 30 years ago. Because of this,  several federal tax credits  are available through the end of 2010. To learn more, contact us online today!

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