With a few exceptions, the winters in Selma tend to be fairly mild. Therefore, although a typical furnace is an adequate way to heat your home, there is another heating option that is far more efficient. A heat pump provides the same level of heating as a furnace while using energy far more efficiently. To understand just how efficient a heat pump can be and whether a heat pump is right for your home, check out this guide from Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating on heat pump efficiency.
What Is a Heat Pump?
A heat pump has one job: to move heat from one place to another. In the summer, a heat pump moves heat from inside your house to outside. In the winter, a heat pump moves heat from outside to inside your house. All of this is done with refrigerant. The refrigerant in a heat pump flows through a long metal pipe called a refrigerant line. While in the refrigerant line, the compressor and condenser, located in the outdoor heat pump unit, work to change the temperature of the refrigerant. In the indoor heat pump unit, the evaporator coil is responsible for changing the temperature of the refrigerant. These changing temperatures are what keep the refrigerant moving and what allows the refrigerant to absorb heat.
Different Types of Heat Pumps
The most common type of heat pump from Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating is an air-source heat pump. This type of heat pump utilizes a unit that is installed on the ground outside your home. The refrigerant line runs through this unit so that the pressurized refrigerant can absorb or expel heat to help change the temperature of your home. An air-source heat pump relies on the heat present in the ambient air to heat your home. This means that it is limited by the temperature of the ambient air.
A ground-source heat pump is the other variety of heat pump. Rather than being located above the ground, the main portion of a ground-source heat pump is buried underground. The refrigerant line is surrounded by soil on all sides, allowing it to absorb heat from the soil or expel heat into the soil. The main advantage of a ground-source heat pump is that the underground temperature in Selma stays fairly consistent throughout the year. This means that heating and cooling require less energy, thus helping to significantly lower your utility bills.
Heat Pump Efficiency
Just how efficient is a heat pump? The best heat pumps from Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating in the best conditions can move up to 300% more energy than they require for the movement to take place. This means that heat pumps almost always cost less to operate than a natural gas furnace, even though the cost of natural gas is significantly lower than electricity. Of course, the overall efficiency of a heat pump depends on the current weather conditions.
During the summer, a heat pump can operate fairly consistently since your home stays at a fairly constant temperature. During the winter, though, when the heat pump is moving heat from outside to inside, the efficiency of the heat pump depends entirely on the ever-changing air temperature. While a heat pump can provide exceptional efficiency on more mild days, that efficiency may suffer a little on the coldest days. That’s another reason why some people prefer ground-source heat pumps since a ground-source heat pump removes some of this unpredictability.
Heating on Cold Days
One very important consideration when choosing a heat pump from Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating is how you will produce heat on especially cold days. Since the system has to maintain the refrigerant at a lower temperature than the surrounding air in order for the refrigerant to absorb heat, ice can form on the refrigerant line during cold weather. To remove this ice, the system draws heat from inside your house to warm the refrigerant line as the refrigerant passes through the exterior portion of the line.
To prevent your home from getting cold while the system is in this “defrost” cycle, an auxiliary heating unit is required. This unit can be powered by either gas or electricity. An electric auxiliary heating unit tends to be more expensive to operate than a gas unit. However, if you opt for an electric unit, you will likely be able to eliminate your need for natural gas entirely.
Maintaining Your Heat Pump
Maintaining a heat pump is largely similar to maintaining any other HVAC system. If you have a ground-source heat pump, the refrigerant loop that is underground requires no maintenance and is typically rated to last at least 50 years. For either type of heat pump, you’ll want to make sure to replace your air filter on a regular schedule to maintain the correct flow of air into your system.
In a ground-source heat pump, maintenance from Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating for the refrigerant line is of particular importance. Since the refrigerant line is being used to keep your home comfortable year-round, you’ll want to have Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating inspect the line twice a year to ensure there are no leaks. Even a small leak in the refrigerant line on an air-source heat pump can significantly increase your utility bills on an annual basis.
Mini-Split Heat Pumps
Heat pumps work great as a central heating and cooling solution for your entire home. However, another type of air-source heat pump, known as a mini-split heat pump, offers heating and cooling capabilities for specific areas in your home. These units feature a small indoor unit that blows air directly into the room in which it’s mounted. There is also a small outdoor unit that contains the compressor and the condenser coil.
A mini-split heat pump is especially efficient because it doesn’t have to force conditioned air through ducts. Instead, the air flows directly into the room, meaning the air doesn’t change in temperature on the way to its destination. Add this to the inherent efficiencies of a heat pump, and you end up with a supremely efficient option for keeping your home comfortable.
Supplementing Your Electricity Needs
One thing that keeps some people from upgrading to a heat pump from Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating is the cost of electricity. Although heat pumps use electricity far more efficiently than other types of electric HVAC equipment, the rising cost of electricity sometimes gives individuals pause. That’s why it makes sense to supplement your electricity needs with a solar array on your home.
When you combine the efficiency of a heat pump and the sustainability of solar panels, you end up with a cost-effective combination. Although solar panels aren’t for everyone, they can really make a heat pump more worthwhile. Plus, depending on how much electricity your array produces, you may be able to supply other electrical needs around your home, as well.
Keeping Your Home Comfortable
When your home isn’t as comfortable as it should be, make sure to give Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating a call. We can install, maintain, and repair all types of furnaces, air conditioners, and heat pumps so that you can find the perfect comfort solution for your home. We also provide air duct cleaning and repair services to ensure the air from your HVAC system moves efficiently around your home. As a business accredited by the Better Business Bureau, you can count on us to provide reliable service every time you give us a call. To learn more about heat pumps, contact us at Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating today.