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Heat Pump Basics You Should Know

Side view of outdoor energy unit hanging on brick wall of house on a sunny day. Air to air heat pump for cooling or heating the home. Outdoor unit powered by renewable energy. Air conditioner and air heat pump.

Most people know a little about furnaces and air conditioners and how they work. People tend to be less familiar with heat pumps, though. What are they? How do they work? And why would you choose one for your home?

Contact Blanton’s to speak with an HVAC pro to help you decide whether a heat pump is suitable for your home.

What Is a Heat Pump?

A heat pump is an HVAC system that supplies both the heating and cooling for your house and can do so more efficiently than most furnaces or air conditioners.

How Does a Heat Pump Work?

Though the “heat” in their name might make people equate them with furnaces, heat pumps are actually very similar to air conditioners. An air conditioning system consists of two radiator-like coils; one absorbs heat inside the home and the other releases that heat to the outdoor air. And that’s exactly how a heat pump works during the summer. The big thing that sets it apart from an air conditioner is that a heat pump can be reversed to absorb heat from the outdoor coil and release that heat through the indoor coil.

Types of Heat Pumps: Air-Source & Geothermal

There are two main types of heat pump systems. Air-source systems are the most common and so named because they use the outside air as their heat source in the winter. Geothermal systems use the ground as their heat source. Though more efficient, geothermal systems do cost more to install than air-source models.

Benefits of Heat Pumps

The primary benefit is that they are energy-efficient. A furnace can never provide more heat energy than it consumes in fuel energy; it cannot surpass 100% efficiency. Since a heat pump does not produce heat but merely pumps refrigerant, it can provide more energy than it consumes. Up to 300% efficiency is not uncommon.

Heat pumps also only require one system instead of having a separate air conditioner and furnace, and they tend to last longer than other types of HVAC systems.​

Is a Heat Pump Right for Your Home?

Heat pumps offer exceptional efficiency and gentle, comfortable heat, but you have many options as a homeowner regarding HVAC equipment. For forced air systems, heat pumps compete with central AC and furnaces.

In terms of cooling, you can expect a heat pump and central air to be identical because they work the same way; heat gets moved outside via compressor and refrigerant, leaving cool air inside, which is blown through your ducts by an air handler.

For heating, a heat pump will be more energy-efficient than a furnace but won’t be able to provide heat as intensely and quickly as a furnace can. If your home is large and poorly insulated, a heat pump might struggle to keep up with your needs on a cold day — but of course, in those circumstances, a furnace will be costly to operate.

A heat pump can also be used in combination with a furnace for efficiency most of the time, with on-demand intense heat as a backup. Dual-fuel systems offer this combination, using electricity through heat pump technology and gas through furnace technology as needed.

Consider a ductless system as an alternative to all forced air systems. These remove ducts and their inefficiencies from your home, instead using separate internal units connected via refrigerant lines to a single exterior system. It’s a heat pump system but distributed instead of connected to an air handler, minimizing the floor space taken up, allowing for zoned climate control, and improving comfort.

Most homes would benefit from a heat pump, whether as a supplemental high-efficiency heat system, a ductless system, or an all-in-one heating and cooling solution.

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Don’t Settle For Less

Make Blanton’s Your
First Call!

We make the process easy in multiple ways but you can always expect the same, easy way when you work with us:

There’s no waiting Around

We don't schedule in those 4 hour windows - you won’t have to wait around for us.

Instant Updates on Arrivals

We call you and give you updates. We provide a 30 minute heads up phone call.

You’ll Know Who Your Technician Is

When you book, you get a welcome email that shows your technician's photo and some of their recent customer reviews.

We Provide real time tracking

When your tech is dispatched, we provide a link where you can track them en route.

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