Switching to a heat pump can be an economical and more energy efficient way for heating and cooling your home. Unlike a furnace, a heat pump does not generate heat. Instead, it heats and cools by transferring thermal energy, very similar to how your refrigerator works. Heat pumps are ideal for moderate climates; however, many systems include an additional heat source to be used when temperatures drop below 40 degrees. There are two different methods that are used to absorb thermal energy depending upon whether you choose to have an air-source heat pump or a geothermal heat pump.
Air-Source Heat Pumps
With an air-source heat pump, you have three main components, a compressor that’s similar to what you may have now for your central air conditioner outdoors, a pump and an air handler. Connecting these components is a network of copper tubing that contains refrigerant.
When the unit is switched to heat, thermal energy from the outside air is:
- Drawn to the tubing
- Absorbed into the refrigerant
- Transferred via the network of tubing into your home
- Released as heat to be blown through your air ducts via the air handler and blower fan
The main duct in your home sucks in the cooler air and the process of transferring thermal energy continues. When the unit is switched to cool, the process is reversed and the thermal energy from indoors is transferred outdoors and dispersed through the cooling fins on the compressor.
Geothermal Heat Pump
A geothermal heat pump works similar to an air-source heat pump works; except that it absorbs thermal energy from the earth or an underground water source through a loop of copper tubing that has been placed deep under the ground where the temperature remains an almost steady 50 degrees, regardless of the season. When the unit is switched to heat, the refrigerant in the tubing below the ground absorbs thermal energy and transfers it to your pump. Alternatively, when you switch the unit to cool, the pump transfers the heat, which is absorbed by the refrigerant in the tubing running through the pump to be dispersed outdoors.
For homes with an existing furnace and ductwork, investing in a heat pump is a good way to reduce your heating and cooling bills. You will quickly recoup your investment with the savings you’ll have with your utilities. Let Paschal show you why a heat pump is good investment!