FAQ: What Is A Heat Pump?

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What is a Heat Pump?

What Is A Heat Pump?

If you’ve tried looking up heat pump systems on your own, you’ve likely found plenty of complex and even conflicting information. Most of us want to be armed with at least a little bit of information before we start calling around for estimates, so let’s see if we can clear a few things up.

What is a heat pump?

Heat pumps are highly efficient climate control units. These systems have two parts, an indoor, wall-mounted portion known as a handler, and an outdoor unit that looks a lot like a central air conditioning unit– that’s the heat pump.

Are they heaters, or air conditioners?

Both and neither! That’s clear as mud, right? But it’s also the unique twist that makes heat pumps so interesting. These systems work by moving ambient heat to where it’s needed, and away from where it’s not. In other words, when your house is hot, they move the heat outdoors. When your house is cold, they extract ambient heat from the outside air and bring it indoors.

Can you use them in cold climates, or not?

In Indiana, a heat pump is not usually going to be your sole heating system, for the simple reason that heat pumps don’t actually generate heat. As temperatures grow colder outdoors, there’s less heat to extract from the air– although still more than you might think. Some heat pumps can operate at peak efficiency at temperatures as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit. As the thermometer drops, a heat pump becomes a supplemental rather than a primary system. But depending on what kind of furnace you’re using now, a heat pump could reduce your energy costs considerably, and it will save you even more money when it’s cooling.

Are heat pumps more, or less expensive than other options?

You may have wondered how a heat pump, which is electrical, could be cheaper than other forms of heat, like natural gas. After all, baseboard heaters cost a pretty penny! But heat pumps don’t actually have to generate energy, just move it around. In a well-insulated home, you can expect to cut your energy costs by 30%. In addition, heat pump systems can be ductless, which reduces labor costs during installation. And in some cases, tax credits and rebates are available to defray the cost of the new system.

What’s the ideal setting for a heat pump?

Heat pump systems are useful in a variety of settings. On a small scale, a heat pump system could be perfect for a three-season room, or a room your existing system doesn’t heat and cool effectively. But split systems, with multiple handlers installed around the house, are equally possible. Most HVAC systems are easier to install and most efficient to run in new homes. As always, the best thing you can do as a homeowner is insulate and weatherproof your house.

Heat pumps are efficient, green options that can both heat and cool your home. Contact us to find out more about the many heat pump and ductless systems available to you.

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