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Heat Pumps 101 From Triple-O

We are glad to offer heat pump service in Brockport, NY: installation, replacement, repair, and maintenance. But you may be one of those homeowners who have never dealt with heat pumps before and don’t know much about how they work or the benefits they can provide. We wrote this post just for you!

We’ll go over the basics of heat pumps and what you can expect from them. Our team is available to answer any other questions you may have when it comes to heat pumps.

What does a heat pump do?

A heat pump is a nifty two-in-one comfort system that takes the place of an air conditioner and furnace to work as a single heating and cooling system. It isn’t literally two systems in one, but an appliance that uses the same parts to do its different jobs. You don’t have to go out to a heat pump and do anything to it to switch between modes. You only have to change settings on the thermostat and the heat pump will change right over to whatever mode you need.

Heat pumps vs. traditional systems

Heat pumps are refrigerant-based comfort systems, which makes them different from standard heating systems like furnaces and boilers, which don’t use refrigerant at all. Furnaces and boilers instead generate heat, where a heat pump moves heat: it draws heat from the outdoors and moves it indoors.

In most other ways, heat pumps are similar to an air conditioning system, with parts like a compressor and two sets of evaporator coils. But heat pumps can change the direction they move refrigerant, something ACs can’t do, so that heat pumps can do the job of moving heat from a home (cooling) or moving heat into a home (heating). 

Are heat pumps efficient?

As cooling systems, heat pumps have the same efficiency as an AC of a similar size. You can expect similar results from your previous air conditioner, although probably improved because the heat pump will be new.

In heating mode, heat pumps have much better energy efficiency than an electric furnace, consuming far less electricity to run. However, in extremely cold temperatures, heat pumps can lose efficiency because they have a harder time extracting heat from the air outside. There is a way to get around this problem, which we’ll discuss in the next section. 

Do I need a furnace if I have a heat pump?

It depends on what type of furnace you’re talking about. If you mean a standard-sized furnace like you may currently have, then the answer is a solid no. The heat pump is meant to fully replace your central heating system, and it’s not cost-effective to purchase a heat pump only to keep another full heating system around. 

If you mean a backup furnace, that’s different: this is called a dual-fuel system, where the furnace only turns on when the heat pump starts to lose efficiency because of extreme cold conditions. This might be the best option for your house, and our technicians will tell you if it is. 

Triple O Heating, Cooling, Electrical & Plumbing Is Your One-stop Shop for HVAC, Plumbing and Electrical. Reach out for more information about heat pumps. 

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