Heat Pumps – What They are, and How They Work

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Many southeast Michigan homeowners have heard of heat pumps; some are familiar with what they are and how they work, others not so much. A heat pump is a type of air conditioner that heats your home in winter by reversing its operation. We’ll delve a little further into how a heat pump works and why it is an excellent choice for homeowners below.

The heat pump difference

Air conditioners gather heat inside a home and send it outdoors during warm summer months; this is precisely how a heat pump operates.

What happens when cold weather arrives? The heat pump reverses its operation, taking heat from outdoor air and supplying it to the indoors to make your home warm and comfortable. Although outdoor air in winter months feels cold to your skin, there is sufficient heat for a heat pump to “collect” and bring indoors.

Why choose a heat pump?

Much of whether a homeowner wants a heat pump depends on the region in which he or she lives, and how cold temperatures get during winter months. Northern climates usually rely on oil-burning or gas furnaces for warmth, because harsh climates often do not provide enough heat in the outdoor air to make a fuel pump effective and efficient.

However, for those who live in southern climates or regions where winter temperatures do not get too terribly cold, a heat pump is ideal for providing heat during winter months. Because the air does not get frigid, the heat pump can still collect enough heat to keep the home warm and comfortable.

Pairing a gas furnace with a heat pump

Referred to as a “dual-fuel” system, a gas furnace paired with a heat pump is often the most energy efficient solution for providing comfort to those who live in moderate or relatively mild climates. A dual-fuel system combines the best of both, providing comfort year-round while saving you on energy costs.

The heat pump portion of the system warms your home during cool weather in fall months, which means you are consuming electricity rather than gas. In most cases, gas costs more than electricity. As the season changes from fall to winter and temperatures plummet, the gas furnace portion of the dual-fuel system takes over, providing the warmth you need. This again makes sense from an energy cost standpoint, as the electricity that would be necessary for a heat pump to draw in sufficient heat from the outdoor air would cost more than using gas during the coldest winter months.

Warmth and energy-efficiency you can count on

A dual-fuel system works automatically, switching back and forth between heat pump and gas furnace mode depending on the temperature outdoors. When your system is installed, the dealer will pre-program a “switching point” that is determined by the cost of gas and electricity in the area where you live. Your dual-fuel system switches automatically when needed, with no effort required on your part – and you save substantially on energy costs.

Heat pump or dual-fuel system, at Haley Mechanical we are ready to discuss your needs and help you understand the advantages of these types of home comfort systems. Contact us today to learn more about these heating & cooling options.

Learn more about Heat Pump Options from Lennox.