Heat pumps are engineered to provide warm or cold air to homes during the winter and summer months. Unlike a gas or electric furnace, a heat pump does not develop heat energy. A heat pump is an electrical device that works by extracting heat from a single location to move it to another area. During the winter season, a heat pump will remove heat energy from the cold outdoor air and transfer it to each room in your house to keep your family warm.
On the other hand, the operational procedure of a heat pump is able to be reversed during the warmer months of the year. In the summer, the heat pump connected to your house will absorb heat from your air and will transfer it to the outdoor air. A residential air source heat pump that is set to a cooling mode is designed to move heat energy from your house to the outdoors. If you switch the system to a heating mode, it will transfer heat energy from the outdoor air into your home.
Table of Contents
How Does a Heat Pump Transfer Heat?
An air source heat pump utilizes a material called refrigerant to move heat energy. The refrigerant is dispersed between two heat exchanger coils by a compressor. Once the refrigerant reaches the evaporator coil, it will begin to vaporize as its pressure drops. This will allow the refrigerant to extract heat energy from the surrounding air.
After the refrigerant has extracted heat energy from the air, the compressor will send it to a condenser coil that is engineered to compress the refrigerant. This will cause the pressure of the refrigerant to increase and allow for heat energy to be released into the air. An air source heat pump relies on a network of evaporator coils, reversing valves, refrigerant, condenser coils, and compressors to provide warm or cold air to a home.
Main Parts of a Heat Pump System
An air source heat pump system includes an outdoor unit that contains a fan and a coil. Depending on the mode of operation, the coil is engineered to fulfill the duties of an evaporator or a condenser.
Indoor Air Handling System
An indoor air handling system features a blower motor that is designed to distribute warm and cold air throughout the air ducts in your house. The indoor unit also includes a coil that is designed to adjust the temperature of incoming air. The internal fan pushes the incoming air through the coil before distributing it in your home.
The reversing valve is designed to reverse the movement of refrigerant. This allows your heat pump to provide warm and cold air to your house.
This component of a heat pump system is equipped to adjust the pressure of the refrigerant as it travels between the outdoor system and indoor air handling unit.
The expansion valve monitors the distribution of refrigerant from the outdoor unit to the indoor air handling system. This component is responsible for the decrease in pressure and temperature of the refrigerant.
Types of Air Source Heat Pumps
Ductless Heat Pumps
Ductless air source heat pumps are becoming popular in homes due to the easy installation process. This type of pump only requires a small hole in your wall to connect the outdoor system to the indoor air handling system. If you’re expanding the square footage of your home for a new office or bedroom, a ductless air source heat pump is an excellent option. It will help you save money on an expensive air duct installation project.
Air Duct Heat Pumps
An air source heat pump is also able to be integrated into your existing air ducts to distribute warm or cold air to each room of your home. If you’re building a new house, we recommend investing in ductwork to an even distribution of air in each area. Somes types of houses only include short-run air ducts.
These are air ducts that only run through the main living areas of a home. A drawback to short-run air ducts is a lack of airflow in other areas of the home. If you have a cold room or two, we recommend installing a ductless heat pump in these areas to provide warm or cold air throughout the summer or winter months
Split vs Combined Heat Pump Systems
Air source heat pumps are available in split or combined system configurations. A split-system heat pump features two coils that are located inside and outside of your house. With a split-system, the air ducts are connected to the central fan that is located inside the indoor air handling system.
Combined heat pump systems are able to work by utilizing coils and a fan that are located in a central location outdoors. This type of heat pump works by distributing warm and cold air through air ducts that are connected to a wall or roof.
Advantages of Heat Pumps
Heat Pumps Are Energy-Efficient
Most heat pump systems will cost less to operate on a monthly basis when compared to a heating system that relies on combustion. In addition, this type of system is also more energy-efficient when compared to a furnace or air conditioner. This is because heat pumps are basically distributing heat energy from one location to another instead of burning energy. Investing in an energy-efficient heat pump may help you save money for other types of things including vacations, remodels, or education.
Production of Warm & Cold Air
A heat pump works by distributing air to evaporator coils and condenser coils to release or absorb heat. Since a heat pump system is capable of producing warm and cold air, it is an excellent option for climates that have mild temperatures in the winter and summer months. If you live in an area with hot summers or frigid winters, we recommend investing in a traditional air conditioner or furnace.
Consistent Heating & Cooling
In most cases, a central air conditioning system connected to a house is a different brand and age when compared to a furnace. This may cause issues with inconsistent heating or cooling. For example, your energy-efficient air conditioner may be able to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home while your old gas furnace is struggling to distribute warm air. SInce a heat pump is engineered to provide consistent warm and cold air to your house, it will run efficiently during the winter and summer months of the year to ensure optimal comfort.
Unlike your furnace, a heat pump works by moving heat energy from one area to another. Since it does not burn fuel, there is no risk for carbon monoxide poisoning or gas leaks.
Disadvantages of Heat Pumps
Expensive Upfront Cost
While a heat pump may cost less to operate, the initial cost to purchase a unit is expensive. However, an air source heat pump is designed to produce minimal carbon emissions to protect the environment.
Most types of heat pumps are hard to install in a home. If you are looking to invest in an air source heat pump, you will be required to hire a licensed HVAC technician in your area to perform the installation. This type of system is difficult to install because extensive research must be completed to gain an understanding of the climate in your area along with the movement of heat in the air or ground. Heat pump systems are not able to operate in areas with extremely cold or warm temperatures.
If you live in an area with low natural gas prices, it may cost you less throughout the winter months to use a gas furnace. A heat pump works by utilizing electricity to transfer heat from the outdoor air to your house. In most areas, the total price of natural gas is less when compared to electricity.
Once a heat pump system is activated, it may take some time to produce warm air for your home. On the other hand, a gas furnace relies on the combustion to quickly produce warm air for your house in the winter months.
While a heat pump is working, it will produce the same amount of noise as your central air conditioning system. This may become disruptive if you’re trying to read or work at home. On the other hand, the latest variable speed gas furnaces are engineered to produce minimal noise while they are activated.
Heating & Cooling Services Near You
The team of licensed HVAC contractors at Team Electric provide dependable heating and cooling services to homes in areas of New Jersey such as Brick, Middletown, Elizabeth, Tom’s River, and Trenton. We offer HVAC services including air conditioning repair, furnace installation, boiler repair, and air conditioning replacement. Our team will help you choose a new energy-efficient HVAC system to help you save money on your energy bills. We have been providing safe and trustworthy plumbing and HVAC services to residents in New Jersey for over 20 years. Give us a call by phone at (732) 201-3305 or book an appointment online to receive assistance.