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Is a Heat Pump the Right Choice for Your Homes HVAC Needs

Updated on January 29, 2016

Heat Pumps

Simply put, a heat pump is a device that transfers heat from one point to another. Typically, a heat pump will draw its heat from the ambient outdoor air or the ground to heat the air of a building. Heat pumps operate similarly to a modern air conditioning unit. One of the benefits of a heat pump is that there is only one unit, unlike the typical HVAC system consist of a separate unit to heat and another to cool, both of which can be very expensive. Another one of the benefits of a heat pump, is their ability to heat and cool your home economically.

A heat pump's ideal operating temperature ranges anywhere between 30 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This is why heat pumps are often paired with a device such as an air handler or a natural gas furnace. An air handler is basically an electric heater used to assist the heat pump when the ambient temperature drops below 30 degrees Fahrenheit and shuts down when the preset temperature on the thermostat is reached. The natural gas furnace on the other hand, operates in place of the heat pump when the temperature drops below the heat pump's optimal operating range.

A heat pump has a coil, which extracts the heat from the ambient air surrounding it. This coil is filled with antifreeze or water. This water/antifreeze is forced through the outdoor coil, into another coil inside the home where a fan is located beneath it. This fan produces airflow across the coil, which produces the heated air in the home. Of course this is an extremely simplified version of how a heat pump works. The difference with a geothermal heat pump is that the outdoor coil is buried beneath the ground and extracts heat from the soil, where as a regular heat pump's coil is located above ground and gets its heat from the ambient air.Both of these pumps can be tremendously efficient when installed properly.


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