Heat pumps are gaining popularity with homeowners seeking a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to heat and cool their homes. Optimal in environments that do not see extended spells of sub-freezing weather, heat pumps are capable of producing three times more thermal energy than they use. Understanding heat pump operation is an excellent place to start if you’d like to learn more about this reliable and eco-friendly home climate control technology.
The fundamental thing to know about heat pump operation is how it differs from forced-air furnace and central air conditioner technology. Traditional furnaces and air conditioners work by physically heating or cooling air, then distributing it throughout the home through a network of ducts and vents. Heat pumps don’t do this, and it’s the reason they’re so much more energy-efficient. Instead, heat pumps physically move air around to alter your indoor temperature.
Here’s the basic cycle of heat pump operation:
- Refrigerant is circulated through the system, and switches back and forth between evaporation and condensation to stimulate the release or absorption of thermal energy.
- Heat exchanger coils, in conjunction with the refrigerant, run air through a compressor cycle.
- Low-pressure evaporation absorbs heat, and high-pressure condensation releases it.
- If you want to heat your home, warm air is released indoors. If you want to cool it, warm air is collected from inside your home and pumped to the outdoors, before being replaced by air that’s been cooled.
This cycle is reversible, depending on whether you want to heat or cool your home. Heat pumps are equally effective in winter and summer, and are a good choice here in North Carolina, where we rarely see extended spells of cold weather.
At Blanton’s Heating & Air Conditioning, we understand that you’ll have a lot of questions to ask if you’re considering investing in a heat pump. Retrofitting your home is a major investment that can add a great deal to the resale value of your house, but it’s not a decision you should enter into lightly. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.