How Does a Heat Pump Work?
Heat pumps are a popular choice for those who want to keep their homes comfortable and cozy. What most people do not know about heat pumps is that they have the ability to both heat and cool a home. They are efficient systems that work by transferring heat energy from the air to the refrigerant. The heat pump then circulates the heat energy in the refrigerant to a condenser coil where it is released. At the same time, a fan blows air across the coil. Essentially, a heat pump is a reverse air conditioner. Air is absorbed from the outside and warmed before it circulates throughout your home.
Those who choose to have a heat pump installed in their home can experience the following benefits:
- Lower energy bills - If you switch to a heat pump, you might have a lower heating bill. This is thanks to the fact that heat pumps use less electricity than a typical electric furnace, so they are about three times as efficient as electric resistance heating.
- Simple maintenance - Taking proper care of your heat pump is the best way to get the most out of its efficiency. The difference between the energy consumption of a well-maintained heat pump and one that is neglected ranges between 10% and 25%. Luckily, heat pump maintenance is fairly simple. For starters, we recommend cleaning or changing the filters once a month, or at least checking to see what condition they are in once monthly. If your filters are dirty, this will reduce the power of the system’s airflow. Like most experts, we also recommend having your heat pump professionally serviced at least once a year.
- Enhanced safety - Heat pumps do not need to burn fuel in order to produce heat. Instead, they function by moving heat from one place to another. Because they do not use natural gas, which can leak, they are generally safer than other heating alternatives.
- Long lifespan - For most manufacturers, the average lifetime of a heat pump is 15 years, but some heat pumps can last as long as 20-25 years through regular repairs and proper maintenance.
- Serve dual purpose, providing cooling as well - Interestingly, the main difference between the functions of an air conditioner and a heat pump is that a heat pump has the ability to heat and cool, while an air conditioner does not. As air is pulled into the system and goes over the coils, it cools down and the refrigerant heats up. A heat pump then pushes cool air into the home.
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New Rocky Mountain Institute conducted a study in which they examined 48 states and focused on home heating, which is the largest direct use of fossil fuels in buildings. They focused on heat pumps, which deliver two to four times more heating energy than the amount of electricity they consume.
Their analysis discovered two reasons why a heat pump purchased today would have lower carbon emissions than a gas furnace over the 15-year appliance lifetime: Modern heat pumps have greater efficiency than gas furnaces, even in cold climates & the electricity sector has hit a tipping point in reducing carbon emissions.
Call (518) 380-2485 to get started on your next heat pump installation in Fulton County today!
Heat Pump Problems in Cold Weather
If you feel like the air produced by your heat pump is blowing out cold, you may not have a problem as long as your home still heats to the right temperature. The temperature of the air produced by the heat pump will not necessarily be as hot as the air produced by a furnace so it may not feel very hot. Only be concerned if your home is not heating up. However, if your system does not appear to be working properly, check outside to see if your unit is frozen or covered in ice. This would be an instance where you should call in an expert to inspect and repair the unit.
Hooking Up Your Heat Pump: Get Efficient, Quality Service from a Family-Run Business
Even though maintaining a heat pump is fairly simple, it is best to leave the installation up to professionally trained technicians like the team at Allen's Family Heating & Cooling. With every installation we provide, a 20-point Quality Assurance Checklist shall be completed for your total protection.
Installing a heat pump requires making intricate wiring connections and attachments to the duct system. Along the way, problems might arise like faulty duct systems that need to be replaced, and it takes the trained eye of an experienced technician to pick up on these issues. If you are working with a natural gas furnace, you will be even more thankful that you worked with a technician, as there is a safety hazard that comes along with removing these systems.
A technician will also need to handle the refrigerant for the heat pump and install it into the unit. If this is installed improperly, you will be encountering heat pump breakdowns in the future, which is the last thing you want. Some homeowners attempt to install their heat pumps themselves and end up making mistakes like installing the wrong size heat pump. When mistakes like this happen, you will have to start from the beginning, and you will probably wish you had sought professional help in the first place.
A typical heat pump installation takes four to six hours. During our visit, we will begin by choosing the best place to install the unit. Ideally, this will be a place that shares an outside wall and does not have obstacles in the way, like shrubbery or a thermostat. We set up a foundation outside that can support your heat pump in the chosen location.
Typically, our next step will be to drill holes in the walls to run refrigerant lines and connectors between the inside and outside of the unit. We then install the inside portion of the unit and insulate the lines that run through the openings in the wall. Lastly, we secure the unit to the foundation and connect the lines to ensure they are the correct size. Before we activate the unit, we will gradually equalize the pressure and make sure the refrigerant gas is fully charged.
Access the Heat Pump Repairs and Maintenance You Need from Trusted Professionals
If you want to get the most out of your heat pump, it is important to keep up with regular maintenance. Most experts recommend that you have a professional technician like the ones on the team at Allen’s Family Heating & Cooling service your heat pump at least once every year.
During this visit, we will check the ducts, filters, blower, and indoor coil for dirt and other issues. We will also check for and repair duct leakage, correct the refrigerant charge, and make sure your heat pump is receiving enough airflow.
Even though taking care of a heat pump is pretty simple, like all appliances, they are prone to some issues. Luckily, the team at Allen’s Family Heating & Cooling is here to provide the heat pump repairs you need.
Common heat pump problems & what we can do to help solve them:
- Heat pump not turning on - This is the most basic problem that you can encounter with a heat pump, and also one of the most problematic! After all, you won’t be able to enjoy the temperature control your heat pump can provide without being able to turn it on. When this happens, typically thermostat problems, power loss, a broken starter capacitor, or a broken reversing valve can be to blame. Our team will investigate to find the source of the problem and efficiently get your heat pump up and running again.
- Heat pump not heating - If your heat pump is not heating, this is obviously a major issue and is usually due to a blocked unit, a dirty air filter, or a refrigerant with low charge. Our team can check to see if debris or dirt is in the way of the airflow or if the refrigerant levels are low due to a leak. Regardless of the cause, we will get your heat pump functioning to the best of its ability once more.
- Heat pump not cooling - Contrary to their name, heat pumps can be an alternative to the traditional AC unit. For those who are using their unit for this purpose, it becomes a major issue when the heat pump is not providing cool air. If the heat pump is not cooling, similarly to the heat pump not heating, this can be due to thermostat issues. When it comes to a lack of cool air, it can also be due to a broken reversing valve, dirty components, and low refrigerant charge. We will get to the bottom of your heat pump mystery and get your system running efficiently again.
- Heat pump running constantly - A heat pump is actually designed to work in a more gradual way than a traditional furnace. If the heat pump is running constantly, this could be a sign of a few different issues. For one, it could be due to abnormally cold weather. If you have been experiencing temperatures below normal, your heat pump could actually run constantly without problems. However, if you are concerned about the efficiency of your pump or about rising energy bills, give us a call and we will make sure the system is operating smoothly. This issue could also be caused by a thermostat that is not set correctly.