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Everything You Need to Know About Heat Pumps

Are you thinking about changing your home’s heating and cooling system to a heat pump? Heat pumps can be preferable to furnaces and ACs in more ways than one, particularly with regard to energy efficiency. However, there are certain factors to consider, so make sure you gather this essential information before making the switch.

How Heat Pumps Work

Heat pumps are heating/cooling units that work by moving heat from a warm space (the heat source) to a cold space (the heat sink) rather than generating heat. To warm your home (the heat sink, in this case), a heat pump will transfer warm air from outside (the heat source). To cool your home, it will do the opposite and treat your home as the heat source, moving that warm indoor air outside. In this way, they are like ACs but unlike furnaces.

Different Types of Heat Pumps

The most common type of heat pump is the air-source heat pump, which transfers heat from outside air. Some air-source heat pumps can draw heat even from freezing outside temperatures, but naturally, the lower the temperature, the more the device will have to strain. Depending on your region’s climate, then, this may not be the ideal option for warming your home

Next, there are ground-source, or geothermal, heat pumps, which transfer heat from the more constant temperatures that you find below the surface of the earth. These are more energy-efficient, more suitable for extreme climates, and can even serve as water heaters. However, installing them tends to be more costly.

Learn more about the environmental benefits of a geothermal system here.

How Heat Pumps Improve Energy Efficiency

In terms of cooling performance, heat pumps and ACs both deliver. It’s in the area of heating that heat pumps are superior to their counterparts: furnaces and boilers. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heat pumps can heat a given space at a quarter of the cost associated with furnaces and other conventional heating units.

The coefficient of performance, or the ratio of energy output to input, is a measurement that’s useful in seeing the difference. Electrical heating units have a COP of 1.0 while air-source heat pumps have a COP of 3.2 to 4.5. The higher the COP is, the better. Geothermal heat pumps boast a COP as high as 6.0.

How Much Can You Save On Energy Bills?

Curious to learn what your energy cost savings would look like if you installed a heat pump in your home? Try our Waterfurnace Savings Calculator to see how much you could save by replacing your existing heating and cooling system with a WaterFurnace geothermal system.