What is a heat pump and how does it work?

heating system

Do heat pumps use a lot of electricity?

A geothermal heat pump extracts the heat from underground and transfers it into a home. The following scenario is how a heat pump for central heating operates to heat a home, working in the same way that air conditioners and refrigerators work.

 Refrigerant is circulated through a cycle of condensation and evaporation. The compressor then pumps that refrigerant between exchanger coils, one evaporates the refrigerant at a low pressure, absorbing the heat from the earth. Then the refrigerant is compressed as it transfers to the other coil. There a high pressure condenses it and then the heat is released and pushed through the air ducts, sending the warmth from the heat pump to heat house. 

So, you’re considering having a geothermal heat pump installed after reviewing last winter’s electrical and heating bills? Yes, the more efficient an HVAC system is, the more money you’ll save, but is a geothermal heat pump still going to need electricity? 

There is always going to be some energy lost as the HVAC system generates heat. Any combustion-based furnace that consumes some type of fuel source, either heating oil, natural gas, or propane.  The difference in a geothermal heat pump, it doesn’t generate heat! I pulls heat from the earth. Yes, you are standing on the source where a heat pump will get the heat it uses to heat your home. 

For each unit of energy a geothermal heat pump system uses, four units have used that same power to generate the heat they disperse. Approximately one-third to one-fourth of the energy delivered for heating purpose with a geothermal heat pump system uses electricity. The rest of heat is puled from the earth. So, the answer to your question, does a heat pump use a lot of electricity? No! 

Should a heat pump be left on all the time?

Okay, this is where you will find out that you should get a programmable thermostat.  A heat pump is highly efficient in providing comfort for your home, one of the biggest advantages that attracts the attention of homeowners. 

However, there is a common misunderstanding about the efficiency of a heat pump. No, you should not leave your heat pump on all night and if your home is well insulated, you should feel the need to do that anyway.  A heat pump will get a properly insulated house warm in only a few hours and keep it warm with the heat pump turned off.  What if the insulation isn’t in top condition? No problem the heat pump will heat the house faster than the traditional heating methods.  Use your blankets for extra warmth – they’re free! 

What are the advantages of a heat pump?

Americans are learning that heat pump efficiency  isn’t just for keeping homes warm in the winter. They are excellent in the summer for air conditioning too! Where a heat pump pulls heat from the earth to heat your home in the winter. During the summer, it pulls the heat from home, cools it down, and sends it back into your home. Sounds great, but what are the true advantages of a heat pump? 

  • Heat pump uses less electricity, lowering your energy bill.
  • Heat pump doesn’t dry the air out in your home like a furnace.
  • Heat pump doesn’t require a humidifier to keep your comfortable. 
  • Heat pump is quieter operating system than other heating systems because the noisy part, the compressor, is outside your home.
  • Heat pump doesn’t use the fossil fuels, making it eco-friendly.

At what temperature do heat pumps become ineffective?

The first step in clarifying a myth about geothermal heat pump not working when the weather is extremely col is to state there are two different heat pump methods. One is air-to-air and the other is a ground source.  The air-to-air won’t work as well when the weather is at an extremely cold temperature.  That is just logical because of the air is cold the heat pump is only pulling in cold air. 

A geothermal heat pump is pulling heat from the earth, which is a consistent temperature. So, when the air is cold, the geothermal heat pump will still be pulling the same natural heat from the earth. The cold air tells the geothermal heat pump it needs to produce more heat, aka run longer, but it will never run out of heat to warm your home. 

HVAC system on concrete

Do heat pumps work well in hot weather?

Absolutely!  A GHP (geothermal heat pump), can heat and cool your home. In fact, a GHP can even supply your home with hot water!  This isn’t a new technology; it has been around fifty years and has been known to slash energy cost by over 60% when comparing bills to home with the traditional HVAC system. 

Some rumors have been floating around that a geothermal heat pump is loud, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Because the main part of the GHP system is outside, the noise is outside, but even then, it isn’t obnoxiously loud. Call 704-964-8375 today for heat pump service in Charlotte, NC.