Heat Pump Install

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Heat pumps are viable alternatives to air conditioners and furnaces in moderate climates. Heat pumps efficiently transfer heat from one place to another. In the wintertime, they bring warmth from outside into your home. In the summertime, they work in reverse, pulling the heat inside of your home out. Having a heat pump installed in your home is a job for a professional, much as having an HVAC system installed is. This guide will give you an idea of how they are set up and how they work.

Heat Pumps and How They Work

There are a few different kinds of heat pumps, each one extracting its heat through a different method:
  • Air source (or air-air) heat pumps pull in air from the outside and use coils filled with refrigerant to extract the heat from the air before blowing it back outside. This heat is then transferred into the house where it is circulated through the home by way of air ducts. To cool your home down, the reverse would simply occur: the pump would pull in air from your home, extract the heat from it, and transfer that heat outside, returning the heat-free air indoors.
  • Ground source heat pumps use the heat that is present deeper in the ground or in an underground water source to heat your home. In a closed-loop system, refrigerant or water is cycled through the pipes to absorb this heat from the exterior source and transfer it indoors. In open-loop systems, the heat is extracted directly from the water in a well or other underground water source, which is then pumped back to where it came from.

  • Absorption heat pumps use a small amount of gas, solar, or geothermal power to run instead of electricity. Generally, these are used for larger structures, not for small-to-medium-sized houses. The process involves absorbing ammonia into water, then boiling away that ammonia using the energy source and circulating the heat generated through the interior of the building or home.
Heat pumps have the advantage of being more environmentally friendly heating and cooling alternatives. They also will likely save you money on heating and cooling costs in the long run. Initial installations costs, however, can be expensive, and, if you are used to the intense warmth and cool provided by a furnace and AC system, the heat pump's milder effects may take some getting used to.

You'll also want to install some sort of backup heating option in case the heat pump malfunctions or does not provide you with enough warmth on particularly cold days. It is not recommended, in fact, that you rely on a heat pump to warm your house if you live in an area where temperatures regularly fall below freezing. They are simply not designed to work properly under those conditions. They are designed to work in the cold, but not in prolonged, extreme cold. Talk to professional contractors and HVAC people to get recommendations concerning your area and what type of heat pump and backup system is best for your home. For people that enjoy moderate temperature and moderate utility costs, a heat pump is a great addition to their home.

Adam Mandelbaum  Posted by Adam Mandelbaum on January 7, 2013

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