According to Mark Roemer Oakland, heat pumps are an excellent alternative to traditional air conditioners and furnaces. They are much more energy-efficient and don’t burn fossil fuels. In fact, they are an excellent solution if you live in a milder climate. However, it can be difficult to choose a heat pump if you don’t understand how they work or how the different types differ from one another.
Here are a few essential things that you should know about heat pumps:
- How heat pumps work – Heat pumps utilize available resources such as air and water to regulate the temperature inside your house. These have a built-in heating system just like an air conditioner along with an outdoor system installed outside the home.
A heat pump is able to turn hot air cold during the summer and vice versa during the winter using refrigerant and electricity.
- The different parts of heat pumps – Heat pumps consist of the following parts:
- Indoor unit – It includes a coil and fan that circulates the air throughout your home.
- Outdoor unit – It includes a coil that facilitates condensation in cooling mode and evaporation in heating mode.
- Compressor – It acts as a pressurizing agent in order to prepare the refrigerant.
- Refrigerant – It is a type of fluid that is used to absorb and release heat as required to keep the system functioning smoothly.
- Expansion valve – It makes it possible to switch between cooling and heating modes by controlling the direction of the refrigerant in the system.
- Reversing valve – It controls the movement of the refrigerant in the heat pump.
- Types of heat pumps – There are three types of heat pumps that you can install — water-source, air-to-air, and geothermal. Let’s look at them in detail below:
- Water source – A water source heat pump utilizes a heat exchanger instead of an outdoor fan and coil. Such a system uses refrigerant to turn water into gas and vice versa when needed. Thus, it constitutes a water loop system to maintain the optimal temperature in your home.
- Air source – Air source heat pumps are known for dehumidifying spaces which offer considerable savings on energy and cooling costs. These utilize outside air to transfer heat inside.
Early generation air source heat pumps were not suitable for colder climates. However, modern innovations have made them capable enough to deliver efficient cooling even in the colder regions. They also come in a ductless version known as mini-split heat pumps which are suitable if your home does not have any ducts.
- Ground source – Geothermal heat pumps (a.k.a. source heat pumps) either use water or ground source for transferring heat to your home. These are a more expensive option to purchase upfront but can reduce the energy use by up to 60% since they have added humidity controls.
Mark Roemer Oakland suggests you maintain your heat pumps according to the manufacturer’s instructions to keep them in good condition. Make sure to clean the filters regularly and occasionally clean the outdoor coils.