Heat Pump Primer: Reasons to believe there might be one in your future
You can pump iron. Pump gas. Pump brakes. Pump stomachs.
But can you pump heat?
You can also pump “cool.”
A heat pump does both.
Heat pumps are the hottest and coolest thing in the HVAC industry today, and there are many good reasons to believe that there might be one in your future.
Two types of heat pumps
The most common kind of heat pump is an air-source heat pump. Air-source heat pumps are easy to install. They simply extract the heat from the ambient air around them and push it to where it’s needed.
Have you heard of geothermal heat pumps? Geothermal is another name for ground-source heat pumps.
Ground-source heat pumps are not common here in Florida. Instead, they are often used in colder climates. A large hole is dug in the earth where the temperature is a consistent 50-60 degrees, no matter how cold or hot it is in any season.
The unit then pulls the consistent heat from the protected earth, making it easy to maintain heat without the use of fossil fuels.
Heat pumps are versatile
Many homes have both an air conditioning unit and a heating unit.
Heat pumps, however, are versatile. One unit takes care of both cooling your home when the weather is hot and heating your home when the weather is cold.
These amazing units transfer heat through metal coils, refrigerant, and a fan. Basically, they pull heat from the ambient air during the winter and then transfer that heat to the inside of your home. In the summer, they pull heat out of the air in your home and transfer it outside.
Heat pumps are revolutionary in that they don’t manufacture heat by burning fossil fuels. They simply take the heat from the air around them and redistribute it.
Heat pumps are incredibly efficient because they don’t use energy to produce heat. Instead of using fossil fuels to generate heat, they actually pull the existing heat out of the air.
If it doesn’t quite make sense, here’s what you need to know:
Heat will always go toward cold. Heat pumps run refrigerant through coils, maintaining a temperature of about -60 degrees in the coils, attracting heat. Even when it’s really cold outside, it’s not -60 degrees like the refrigerant in the coils, so heat is ALWAYS attracted to the cold coils, collected, and redistributed.
The energy efficiency rating of heat pumps can be as high as 300%, generating three times as much heat as it costs to generate it! One study suggested that heat pumps are 3‐5 times more energy efficient than gas boilers.
One of the main reasons that a heat pump might be in your future is because it will save you money.
Because heat pumps don’t rely on electricity or fossil fuels to generate heat, they use much less energy than a traditional air conditioner or heater.
They use so little energy that most households who install heat pumps cut their air conditioning and heating costs by 40-50%!
It’s interesting to note that heat pump sales in Europe have dramatically increased since the war in Ukraine began. With the shortage of fuel, many people are worried about getting through a frigid winter and are investing in the much more economical heat pump.
One of the main reasons that heat pumps are lauded as the way of the future is because they are more earth-friendly. Because they don’t use fossil fuels, they eliminate the greenhouse gases emitted by gas-fired heaters.
While the decline in greenhouse gas depends on the region and how energy is produced, the decrease will be substantial when heat pumps are adopted. A study by US Davis found that “switching to an air-source heat pump in the Northeast should slash household carbon emissions from heating by about 75 percent compared to a gas furnace.”
Biggest myth about heat pumps
People have heard that heat pumps don’t work in cold climates.
In the infancy of heat pump technology, that may have been true.
But not so now!
“…heat pumps surpass fossil and electric-resistance systems in efficiency — including at temperatures that define, for many Europeans, “the coldest days of the year.”
Duncan Gibb, senior advisor at the Regulatory Assistance Project and co-author of the new study.
No matter how cold the climate, heat pumps are twice as efficient as gas-fueled furnaces.
Recent coalitions and future possibilities
Another reason that a heat pump might be in your future is that there is a huge push for adoption.
In fact, in September of 2023, a group of 25 states, all members of the U. S. Climate Alliance, pledged to quadruple the adoption of heat pumps by 2030. They aim to educate and encourage homeowners to install 20 million heat pumps within the next seven years!
The Federal Government, too, is incentivizing the adoption of heat pumps through the Inflation Reduction Act. $2000 in tax credits are available on the purchase and installation of heat pumps after January 1, 2023.
Is there a heat pump in your future?
ServiceOne Air Conditioning and Plumbing can help you decide what system is best for your home, your health, your family, your lifestyle, and your budget.
You can count on our twenty years of experience in the industry and our commitment to serving you. You can count on our integrity in giving you honest, thoughtful answers to your questions. You can count on us caring about your household and helping you choose the best system possible.
We’d love to “pump” you up – or repair, replace, or maintain any unit you have!