Heating and Air

Heat Pump Installation

What is a heat pump? A heat pump is part of a heating and cooling system and is installed outside your home.

The same way an air conditioner cools a home, heat pumps can do the same thing. The main difference between the two is that an air conditioner cannot provide heating, and a heat pump can provide heating and cooling.

When heat is needed, a heat pump pulls heat from the outside air and transfers it inside. To cool a home, the heat pump pulls heat out of the indoor air. A heat pump is powered by electricity and functions by transferring heat using refrigerant.

Since a heat pump can both heat and cool, you probably won't have to install separate systems to keep your home feeling comfortable. In colder climates, an electric heat strip can be added to the indoor fan coil to maximize the heat pump's heating capabilities.

How a Heat Pump Cools and Heats

A heat pump doesn't actually create heat. They redistribute heat from the air or ground and use a refrigerant that circulates between the indoor fan coil (air handler) unit and the outdoor compressor to transfer the heat.

In cooling mode, a heat pump absorbs heat inside your home and releases it outdoors. In heating mode, the heat pump absorbs heat from the ground or outside air (even cold air) and releases it indoors.

What types of heat pumps are there?

The two most common types of heat pumps are air-source and ground-source.

Air Source Heat Pumps

An air source heat pump is a type of heat pump that can absorb heat from outside a structure and release it inside using the same vapor-compression refrigeration process and much the same equipment as air conditioners but used in the opposite direction. Unlike an air conditioning unit, most air source heat pumps are reversible and are able to either warm or cool buildings and, in some cases, also provide domestic hot water.

In a typical setting, an air source heat pump can gain 4 kWh thermal energy from 1 kWh electric energy. They are optimized for flow temperatures between 30 and 40°C (86–104°F) suitable for well insulated buildings. With losses in efficiency, an air source heat pump can even offer a full central heating solution with a flow temperature up to 80 °C (176 °F).

Ground Source Heat Pumps

Geothermal heat pumps (GHPs), sometimes called GeoExchange, earth-coupled, ground-source, or water-source heat pumps, have been in use since the late 1940s. They use the relatively constant temperature of the earth as the exchange medium instead of the outside air temperature. 

Although many parts of the country experience seasonal temperature extremes -- from scorching heat in the summer to sub-zero cold in the winter—a few feet below the earth's surface, the ground remains at a relatively constant temperature. Depending on latitude, ground temperatures range from 45°F (7°C) to 75°F (21°C). Like a cave, this ground temperature is warmer than the air above it during the winter and cooler than the air in the summer. A ground source heat pump takes advantage of these more favorable temperatures to become highly efficient by exchanging heat with the earth through a ground heat exchanger.

What are the components of a heat pump system?

Here is a list of the major components of a heat pump system:

  • Outdoor unit with a coil that acts as a condenser in cooling mode and an evaporator in heating mode
  • An indoor unit that contains a coil (just like the outdoor unit) and a fan to move the air through your home
  • The refrigerant that absorbs and releases the heat as it circulates through the system
  • A compressor that pressurizes the refrigerant
  • Reversing valve that changes the direction of the refrigerant in the system to enable the shift between heating and cooling
  • Expansion valve that regulates the flow of refrigerant through the system

Where do heat pumps work best?

Heat pumps are more common in milder climates, where the temperature does not typically drop below freezing. In colder regions, they can also be combined with furnaces for energy-efficient heating on all but the coldest days. When the temperature outside drops too low for the heat pump to operate effectively, the system will instead use the furnace to generate heat. This kind of system is often called a dual fuel system – it is very energy efficient and cost effective.

Why should you choose us for your heat pump installation?

Our goal is to provide our customers with the best service possible. We strive daily to leave customers satisfied and bring them into a long-term relationship with us. Our team is committed to changing the traditional "Chuck and a truck" service methods and providing you with a repair service you will never forget. When it comes time for a heat pump installation, we will be here to help in an efficient, cost-effective manner.

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