A heat pump is an HVAC system that can provide both heating and cooling to a home. All you have to do is flip the switch and it will reverse its flow of refrigerant, thus allowing hot air to come inside instead of going outside. It’s a level of convenience that is unmatched by other systems.
Heat pumps come in two different types: the traditional kind that uses ducts—much like your average central AC or furnace—and ductless models, which have no need for those ducts.
All of this makes heat pumps very versatile systems that can work well in nearly any home. At the same time, it can actually just make things even more confusing for the average homeowner.
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of four of the most commonly asked questions to try and reduce any confusion.
1. How Does It Pump Heat During Winter?
To oversimplify the explanation, a heat pump “recycles” warm air instead of generating it. In summer, it removes warm air from your home and sends it outside. In winter, it takes warm air from outside and puts it indoors.
But hold on a minute—what do we mean by warm air in winter? While it’s certainly colder outside than it is inside, there’s still going to be plenty of warmth in the air, even if you can’t feel it. The heat pump can gather all this warmth together and send it into your home without issue.
2. Is It Just As Efficient As My Central AC/Furnace?
In cooling mode, a heat pump is just as efficient as a central air conditioner.
When it comes to heating in Grand Rapids, MI, though, it’s a different story.
If we’re comparing the heat pump to an electric furnace, then we can assure you that the heat pump uses that electricity more efficiently.
In comparison to a gas furnace, the heat pump will be more efficient in temperatures above 30°F. Below that, you’ll find that the gas furnace is more efficient. That’s why some homeowners opt for a hybrid system, which combines a heat pump with a gas furnace for efficient year-round heating.
3. How Do Installation Costs Differ?
A heat pump is going to be a little bit more expensive than a central AC or furnace, but the real difference in installation costs comes from whether you’ll be using a ducted or ductless system.
A ducted system can use your existing set of ducts, alleviating much of the installation cost.
But for a ductless system, you’ll need to take into account the price of each individual air handler. While this has amazing efficiency benefits in the long run, you’ll have to be careful about the upfront installation costs.
4. Does Year-Round Performance Mean More Problems?
Heat pumps are supposed to be used year-round, for both heating and cooling—so doesn’t that mean it will incur twice as much wear and tear?
While that would seem to make sense, heat pumps are actually capable of lasting 5 to 10 years longer than central ACs and furnaces—even with the constant use. As these systems get more efficient, their estimated lifespan increases.
For more information on heat pumps, contact Westshore Mechanical today. Serving West Michigan Since 2004.