An Introduction To Heat Pumps

If you are looking into renovating your HVAC system, then you might have considered getting a heat pump. To give you a better idea as to whether a heat pump is the right choice for you, here is an overview of how heat pumps work:

What is a heat pump?

In simple terms, a heat pump is a unique appliance that can work as either a heater or an air conditioner. Whether you want to cool your home in the summer or heat it up in the winter, a heat pump can help you out.

The mechanism involved isn't terribly complicated. Basically, your heat pump acts as a sort of membrane between the inside of your house and the outside. When you want to heat up your home, it pulls heat from the exterior side and deposits it on the interior side. When you want to cool your house down, it does the reverse.

Why get a heat pump?

Aside from the fact that heat pumps reduce the overall number of appliances that you need to deal with, they are also extremely efficient in certain circumstances. If you live in a temperate climate, then a heat pump will often be cheaper to run than traditional HVAC systems. However, as the climate outside becomes more and more severe (in either direction), your heat pump will become more and more inefficient.

If it's a slightly warm evening and you wish to cool your home by a couple of degrees, it's pretty easy for your heat pump to take a small amount of heat from the inside of your home and dump it outside. Due to the fairly small difference in temperature between the inside of your home and the outside, that difference should stay fairly constant, as long as your home is properly insulated. However, when you change the situation to an oppressively hot day, your heat pump needs to dump a lot more heat to keep your home at a cool temperature. Additionally, a lot of that heat wants to get back inside your house, which can force your heat pump to work even harder.

Are there different kinds of heat pumps?

There are two main types to choose from: air-source and geothermal.

Air-source heat pumps work directly with the air outside your home. They are pretty easy to install, since they just need to be set up against the exterior of your home. There are no additional installation requirements, but this does come at a cost. If you are dealing with very cold temperatures, the wind is going to be exceedingly cold as well. It will be very difficult for your heat pump to successfully draw heat into your home in such a situation.

Geothermal heat pumps are much more efficient in that regard, since they can take heat from the earth around your home. There is a lot more heat there than in the air, which means that it will be easier for your heat pump to do its job. Of course, this is only possible because a geothermal heat pump requires a fairly extensive installation process. Some ground must be excavated to get everything set up, which can cost you a fair bit.

For more information about the installation process, contact a company like Actionaire Inc.