Understanding Your Heat Pump: How It Works


There are many systems available for maintaining temperature control in your home, from central heating and cooling systems to window air condition units and portable heaters to heat pumps. At one time, central heating and cooling were considered the best and most desirable system to have, but in recent years, heat pumps have been becoming more prevalent. There are several reasons for the increase in heat pump popularity. For one, heat pumps are more energy efficient. They do not generate heat; rather, they take air and convert it into heat, so they require less energy. Their increased energy efficiency means they are also less expensive to run than traditional central heating systems, making them extremely desirable to homeowners. But how do they work? Understanding the processes behind heat pump technology will help you decide if one is right for you or help you maintain the pump you already have.

The idea behind a heat pump is relatively simple. Even if it is freezing cold outside, there is still heat in the air. You just can’t feel it when you are outside. Your heat pump can detect that air, however, and it pulls that heat air into the pump and then funnels it into your home. You will not detect any difference between this kind of heat and central heating, which works by actually heating up air and then releasing it into your home. However, because the air is naturally heated rather than having the system expend energy to heat it, the heat pump is more energy efficient and less expensive to run.

When it comes to air conditioning, the way the heat pump works is similar – it just works in reverse. A common misconception about heat pumps is that they pull cool air in from outside and funnel it into your home, but that is incorrect. In reality, the heat pump registers the warm air inside your home as it does in the winter with the warm air outside. Then, it removes that warm air from your home and pumps it outside, reducing the temperature in your home. Again, because the heat pump does not have to actually cool any air artificially, the operating cost and energy expenditure are less than a normal central air conditioning system.

Is a heat pump for everyone? If you live in a place with extreme temperatures, such as very cold winters or very hot, humid summers, then you may find that a heat pump doesn’t provide enough temperature control for you. Moderate climates are ideal for heat pumps. Likewise, they may not be best for very large properties. For everyone else, however, heat pumps can be an ideal way to control your energy costs.

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