A heat pump is a great appliance to have in your house, depending on where you’re located and if you experience extreme weather during winter.
Simply put, a heat pump does what the name implies; pump heat. In warm weather, the heat pump will get heat out of your home, and in cold weather, the heat pump will get heat into your home.
Heat pumps are available in different brands and sizes, depending on functionality. They are built to be efficient, durable, and long-lasting, but if not properly cared for and maintained, they may develop issues that eventually lead to premature wear.
Therefore, selecting an HVAC heat pump model and using it correctly is vital to getting the most out of your heating and cooling system. Home Comfort Inc. is a trusted and award-winning heating and air conditioning service company based in Salem, Oregon. Our promise is to assist you with all the information you might need on heat pumps, including how they operate, what good they could do your home, and how to maintain it properly; So you can make the best decision.
So, let’s get right into it.
WHAT IS A HEAT PUMP?
A heat pump is a two-component, stand-alone air conditioner that provides heating and cooling for homes, workplaces, and other places using refrigeration technology and energy. It is made up of 2 parts: a condenser unit that usually sits outside of a home and produces heating or cooling, and an indoor unit that typically sits on a wall and passes hot or cool air into the house.
In our area, you typically see one of two types of heat pump systems. A heat pump that doesn’t require ductwork to condition your home is often referred to as a “ductless system”. More traditional systems like the one pictured above utilize your existing ductwork and pull heat from your home in the summer to cool it and bring the heat in during the winter to heat your home. Both systems are highly energy efficient.
HOW DOES A HEAT PUMP WORK?
As mentioned before, the heat pump system is made up of two main components: an indoor unit that is installed within your home and an outdoor unit, or a condenser, that is located outside. These two components are connected using a refrigerant line.
Heat pumps work by transferring heat energy from one place to another using electricity, or gas, and a refrigerant. Depending on where they get their power, three primary heat pumps are air-to-air, water source, and geothermal heat pumps. Let us break it down.
The pump works by extracting heat from the warm air outside your home and transferring it to the refrigeration coolant. It is then compressed, an action that significantly increases its temperature. It is then moved to the heat pump’s indoor unit, which passes air over the hot coolant, raising its temperature to meet the heating demands of your property.
When outdoor temperatures drop and the heat pump detects a need for heat in your home, it activates the fan in the external unit, which begins the process of extracting heat from the air outside your home. From here, the heat is carried to the interior unit via the refrigerant line. The interior unit then transmits the heat to the air inside your home via a fan inside the wall cassette or air exchange.
In cooling mode, the process is reversed, with heat being sent out of your home and cool air being returned.
WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF USING A HEAT PUMP
There are numerous benefits to using heat pumps that make them a good investment for homeowners, but just like any HVAC system, there are some pros and cons of heat pumps. Here are a few to consider before selecting any heat pump system.
• Excellent heating and cooling system
• High energy efficiency
• Reduced energy costs
• Minimal maintenance required
• Long life expectancy
• Improved safety and security over standard air conditioners
• Drastically lowers carbon emissions
• May be eligible for state or federal incentives.
• High initial heat pump equipment cost
• Installation is difficult so should be done by a licensed professional.
• The sustainability of the product is not fully carbon neutral
• Permits for installation may be necessary depending on where you live.
• Can stop working in extremely cold weather
CHOOSING THE RIGHT TYPE OF HEAT PUMP FOR YOUR HOME: THE DOS AND DON’TS
Keep a Watchful Eye on the Thermostat
Your heat pump is only as good as your thermostat. Investing in a good digital thermostat will increase heat pump efficiency. It would be best to avoid analog thermostats because they are difficult to use and can cause a heat pump to falsely trigger when they fail.
Pick High but Comfortable Fan Speeds
Heat pumps use a fan to cool the house. Many homeowners pick the lowest fan speed because they do not want to cool their homes too much, but they don’t know that greater fan speeds increase the heat pump’s efficiency. However, it’s a balance so you will want to avoid fan speeds that are too high since they can be too noisy.
Pay Attention to the Refrigerant Levels
Your heating appliance will not perform properly with improper refrigerant levels. As such, regularly inspect the levels and, if necessary, replace the refrigerant to keep your device in good form.
Clean the Heat Pump Regularly
The heat pump, like all other household appliances, needs to be cleaned regularly. Make sure it is frequently inspected and cleaned by an experienced heat pump expert. This way, you will be assured of better air quality and overall energy efficiency.
Ignoring the Need for Regular Maintenance
It applies to nearly all heating systems. You need to schedule regular cleaning and replace filters as instructed in the user manual for your heat pump. Debris, snow, and ice should not be allowed to accumulate on the exterior compressor unit.
Don’t Leave Your Existing Indoor Heating System on High (Ductless Heat Pumps).
If you leave your air conditioning systems at high speed, the heat pump will compete with your existing HVAC system, wasting energy and money. Turn your old thermostat 10°F lower than usual in the area where you are using the heat pump. For instance, you can set it to 58 if you previously set it to 68.
Reset It Every Day
With older heating systems, you would have to lower the temperature when working or sleeping at night. But a heat pump works differently because it reaches peak efficiency by maintaining a set temperature so, find the right setting and let it do its job.
Don’t Underuse It
The best way to get a heat pump to work efficiently is to use it for as much heating as it can handle. Experiment by opening a few indoor rooms to expand the zone, then turn up the fan. You might be surprised how much space a heat pump can heat.
HOME COMFORT INC, YOUR TRUSTED HEATING AND COOLING EXPERTS IN SALEM, OREGON
Home Comfort Inc. is an authorized dealer for all popular heat pump systems in Salem and surrounding areas. We offer full service and preventative maintenance options to extend the life of your system and ensure full efficiency.
We can help you detect warning signs in advance so you can do the necessary repairs. Don’t hesitate to call us at 503-623-2341 or visit our office.