These days, plenty of homeowners know that heat pumps are some of the most efficient air conditioning systems available on the market. Not as many, however, know that they can actually use a heat pump to heat their home in the winter too. Plus, they can do so at lower operating costs than conventional electric or gas-powered heating systems. Here is everything you need to know about using heat pumps in the winter and why you might want to do so.
The Principle Behind Heat Pumps
To understand how heat pumps work, the first thing that you should know is that they don’t actually create heat. Instead, they just move it from one place to another. In the summer, a heat pump moves heat from inside your home and then vents it to the outdoors in order to cool your home. In the winter, a heat pump extracts heat from the outside air and vents it inside your home to warm it up.
Just like conventional air conditioning systems, heat pumps use refrigerants to move heat out of your home in the summer. Unlike conventional air conditioners, however, heat pumps have valves that allow the process to run in reverse. In the winter, the cold refrigerant absorbs heat from the outdoor air and then delivers it to the interior of your home.
That’s the secret to why heat pumps are so much more efficient than conventional heating and cooling systems: They only use energy to move heat from one place to another rather than to create heat or cold in an energy-intensive process.
What Happens When It’s Very Cold Outside?
The first question most people ask when they find out that heat pumps move heat rather than create it is if they still produce heat when it gets very cold outside. The answer is that heat pumps can continue to provide efficient home heating until the outside air temperature reaches around 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Below that, they begin to become less efficient. However, most heat pump systems include a supplementary heating element that uses electricity or gas combustion to augment the heat that is pulled from the outdoor air.
Even when running with a supplementary heating element turned on, heat pumps still use far less energy than conventional systems do. That is a big reason they’re a popular heating option, even in places that have very cold climates. For example, Norway has a heat pump adoption rate of over 60%, and its average January temperature is 21 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s fair to say that if heat pumps are an efficient heating option in Norway, they’ll also be one here in the Grand Junction area.
It’s worth pointing out that there are also heat pumps that are designed specifically for use in cold climates. They use special refrigerants that can continue to absorb heat from the outside air down to zero degrees Fahrenheit or less. Here in Grand Junction, though, it doesn’t really get cold enough to need those. For the average home here, a standard heat pump system with a supplementary heating feature is more than adequate.
The Major Advantages of Heat Pumps
Efficiency isn’t the only reason why you might want to consider using a heat pump to heat and cool your home. They also have several other advantages when compared to traditional electric and gas-powered systems. Those advantages include:
- Less required maintenance than combustion or electric heating systems
- Longer service life
- Fewer carbon emissions than conventional electric or combustion systems
- Enhanced safety compared with traditional heating systems
- Quiet operation
The takeaway is that heat pumps are a fantastic option for homeowners here in the Grand Junction area. They need less maintenance, they last longer, and they cost less overall to operate. In other words, they are the perfect home heating and cooling solution.
Consult the Heat Pump Experts
Home Comfort Services has been handling the heating and cooling needs of families here in Grand Junction since 2016. We also offer no-charge appointments when you need equipment replacement estimates or a consultation on your home’s heating and cooling system. Along with heating and cooling repairs, installations, and maintenance, we also offer convenient plumbing services.
If you think a heat pump would make a good addition to your home, contact Home Comfort Services today and let us help you choose the perfect system for your individual needs.