Many people have questions about heat pumps. What are they? How do they work? Are heat pumps better than furnaces? Heat pumps offer a more energy efficient alternative to air conditioners and heaters. They work by moving heat from a cool space into a warm space so cool areas are cooler and warm areas are warmer. In other words, there is always heat in the air, even when during winter months, and heat pumps take this heat and move it indoors. The cycle can also be reversed in summer months so that heat is moved from inside out.
It takes much less energy to move heat than to generate it, so heat pumps can provide 4 times more energy than they consume. Compared to heating with electricity, heat pumps cut the amount of electricity used by 30-40%. They also dehumidify better than standard air conditioners.
I know this sounds fantastic, almost too good to believe. You can consolidate your heating and cooling needs into one unit and cut your electricity costs at the same time! But, heat pumps are not perfect for any climate. In southern areas where winters are mild heat pumps are going to be more efficient than in climates where temperatures regularly approach freezing, and even less efficient in climates where temperatures are regularly below freezing. Even in the Sun Belt where we have mild winters, we do occasionally have cold snaps where temperatures are near or below freezing for extended periods of time. During these times, you will need a back up heater. Heat pumps also emit a milder heat than standard heaters, but this heat distributes more evenly through the house, eliminating cold spots.
As always, you need to gather as much information as you can before changing your HVAC system. Any of our AC Doctor certified contractors would be more than happy to give you the information you need.