The name heat pump is somewhat of a misnomer. It gives the impression that a heat pump can only provide a source of heat for your home, but the truth is that it can also cool your home. Heat pumps run on electricity rather than fossil fuels and can work independently of a traditional HVAC system. In the right climate a heat pump can even take the place of an HVAC system. Conversely, a furnace system cannot provide cool air while an air conditioner cannot provide heat. A heat pump might be an excellent solution to provide heating in Nashville, TN, without the need for an entire HVAC system overhaul.
How Does a Heat Pump Work?
The process begins with an outside unit that houses the coil and a compressor to pressurize the refrigerant. The coil works as an evaporator when set to a heating mode and as a condenser when set in the cooling mode. Depending on the mode, the refrigerant either absorbs or releases the heat as it flows through the pump. A reversing valve allows the user to change between heating and cooling modes while an expansion valve controls the refrigerant flow during each cycle. The unit inside the home also contains a similar coil and the fan which is responsible for dispersing the heated or cooled air throughout the home. Some types of heat pumps don’t even require the installation or use of duct work.
What Benefits do Heat Pumps Offer?
This is just a brief list of the kinds of benefits heat pumps can offer.
- Since heat pumps provide heating and cooling, they can eliminate the need for a separate more elaborate HVAC unit.
- Heat pumps use smaller amounts of electricity rather than fossil fuels which makes them less expensive to operate as well as more environmentally friendly.
- A heat pump can cool your home more efficiently than an air conditioning unit.
- Heat pumps can endure at least 10 to 15 years of use with proper care and maintenance.
Heat pump manufacturers rate the efficiency of their pumps and provide the results in two different ways called SEER and HSPF ratings.
- SEER or seasonal energy efficiency rating – this number is reached by taking the amount of energy in BTUs removed from the air and dividing it by the total amount of energy used overall by the unit in watt-hours. A higher number means that the unit works better. A good SEER rating will be between 14 and 18.
- HSPF or heating seasonal performance factor – determining the HSPF is more complicated because it involves a measurement of the total output of heating during the colder months in BTUs and dividing it by the total amount of energy in watt-hours used by the unit during the same time period. An HSPF rating of between eight and 10 is advantageous.
Always Trust the Professionals
Even though a heat pump installation may not include the involvement of ductwork, it is still an intensive and intricate electrical process that should only be handled by a professional technician. Similarly, all maintenance and repair work should also be done by a trained experienced professional to keep your home and family safe and to preserve the unit’s warranty. Many companies will void warranties on products when they have been incorrectly maintained or damaged by people who have tried to save money on repairs. That only costs more money in the long run because replacing the unit becomes the responsibility of the homeowner rather than the manufacturer even if the unit had a defect in the beginning.