Energy efficiency is one of the most important things to many homeowners in Oak Hill. Obviously, rising energy costs are prompting people to look for more economic options, but there are certainly other factors that come into play. Among the options homeowners have, heat pumps are front and center in terms of meeting energy efficiency targets. However, not many people understand exactly why heat pumps are so efficient and what makes them different from conventional HVAC systems. Learn more about heat pumps and why they’re such a popular choice among homeowners today.
What Is a Heat Pump?
Put simply, a heat pump is a high-efficiency, dual-purpose type of HVAC system. You can use them to both heat and cool your home, in place of a conventional furnace and air conditioner. In heating mode, a heat pump offers energy efficiency that no conventional electric, oil, or gas-powered furnace can match. In cooling mode, a heat pump offers efficiency that’s on par or better than today’s most efficient conventional air conditioners.
How Do Heat Pumps Work?
Mechanically, heat pumps are very similar to conventional air conditioners. They rely on an outdoor unit and an indoor air handler to operate, much like any other central HVAC system. To cool your home, a heat pump uses refrigerant to capture heat from the air in your home and carry it outside.
The process begins with the refrigerant passing through a series of coils inside your indoor air handler. There, a fan circulates your home’s air through the coils, which allows the refrigerant to absorb heat. The result is cool air, which the system distributes around your home. After absorbing the heat from the indoor air, the refrigerant travels outside, where it passes through a compressor, heating it up even more. The compressed refrigerant then passes through another set of coils, with another fan to expel the heat into the outdoors. Then the cycle begins again.
In heating mode, a heat pump essentially works in reverse. It uses the outdoor coils to absorb heat energy from the outside air, amplifies that heat using the compressor, and brings it indoors where you need it. The process works because, even in very cold outdoor temperatures, there’s always some amount of heat energy left in the air. A heat pump exploits that to keep your home warm.
Why Are Heat Pumps So Efficient?
In cooling mode, heat pumps perform as efficiently or better than most conventional air conditioners. This is due mostly to their use of things like variable-speed motors and high-performance heat exchangers. However, they really show off their efficiency when you use them in heating mode.
Their secret is that they don’t consume energy to produce heat, as a gas or electric furnace would. Instead, they capture already-available heat energy to use inside your home. They move heat from one place to another instead of generating heat through combustion or electric resistance.
Do Heat Pumps Have a Downside?
Now that you know how efficient heat pumps are and why that is, you’re no doubt wondering if they have some big downside. After all, why wouldn’t every home have one if they’re so superior to conventional HVAC systems? There are a few answers to that question.
The first is cost. A heat pump might cost more to install than a conventional furnace or a standalone air conditioning system. Although, with available incentives and falling production costs, the difference continues to narrow.
The second downside is that heat pumps start to lose their amazing efficiency at very low outside temperatures. If the temperature drops low enough, a heat pump might need to engage a backup electric resistance heater to keep your home warm. Fortunately, we don’t see very many sub-freezing days here in Oak Hills, CA, so this isn’t much of an issue for homeowners here.
Heat pumps offer amazing energy efficiency, provide heating and cooling, and are considered environmentally friendly. The experts here at JC Energy Solutions are happy to help you if you’re interested in adding one to your Oak Hills home. We also provide complete HVAC maintenance and repair services, too, should you wish to keep your existing HVAC system working at peak efficiency. We even handle water heaters, too! So, for heat pumps, HVAC systems, and more, contact the experts at JC Energy Solutions today!