A heat pump is an efficient option for heating your home. If you’re having second thoughts about getting one, read here as local HVAC company OK Heating and Air Conditioning shares some facts you need to know about them.
Heat pumps can draw heat even when it’s cold outside. The term “heat pump” refers to the part of the heating cycle where refrigerant pumps in heat from the outdoors. Even when the air outside feels cold, there’s still some heat available for the heat pump to draw. Therefore, the warmer it is outside, the more efficient the heat pump will be. Certain types of heat pumps have equipment that can also draw heat from the ground or under nearby bodies of water.
Heat pumps are reverse air conditioners. An air conditioner produces cold air by putting refrigerant through various stages of compression, resulting in a supercooled state. The refrigerant then passes through tubes over which air is blown. In this state, the refrigerant also draws heat from the room and expels it through coils located outdoors. Heat pumps utilize the same cycle but in reverse: the heat is drawn into the house and cool air is expelled through the outdoor unit. This is why an air conditioner with a reversing valve can double as a heat pump.
Defrost mode helps protect your heat pump from freezing. You may notice your heat pump going into defrost mode once in a while, which is normal. Heat pumps are designed to pump heat outward by reversing its refrigeration cycle for a short while in order to prevent frost from forming on the outdoor unit. However, if the heat pump does this too often, it will need to be serviced by an HVAC technician.
It’s okay to have both a heat pump and a furnace. If you have a perfectly-working gas or oil furnace, consider pairing it with a heat pump instead of replacing it. Turn on your heat pump during mild to moderate winter weather and only switch to the furnace when it really gets cold. This way, you won’t overwork the heat pump and will only use fuel when you really have to.
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