Heat pumps are rapidly growing in popularity as more homes look toward superior energy efficiency and shift away from using natural gas for winter heat. Although heat pump technology isn’t new, many people are still unfamiliar with how they work. Because there’s a large amount of outdated information about heat pumps, it’s easy for homeowners shopping for a new heating installation in Batavia, NY to think heat pumps simply aren’t a viable option for the colder weather.
We want to squash this myth. If you don’t read any further, please know that current technology allows heat pump to work effectively and efficiently in colder climates. A heat pump may not be suitable for all homes, but we strongly advise homeowners investigate them as a possibility.
The Misunderstood Heat Pump
There is some kernel of truth to the idea that a heat pump isn’t effective in extremely cold climates. Once upon a time (the 1980s), heat pumps would lose energy efficiency when the temperature dropped below freezing.
When you know about how heat pumps work, it makes sense why low temperatures would present trouble. A heat pump is similar to an air conditioner: it circulates refrigerant between two sets of coils, one inside a house and one outside. One coil absorbs heat, the other releases it. But where an AC can only work in one direction—drawing heat from inside the home—a heat pump can switch direction so that it brings heat into the house.
But where does it get this heat? A heat pump will only run in heating mode when it’s cold outside, so how is the outdoor coil accessing heat?
The simple answer is that there’s also some heat energy in the air, no matter how cold it is. Older heat pumps from the 1980s would lose their efficiency because they required so much energy to pull in that outdoor heat. However…
The Cold Climate Heat Pump
The development of cold climate heat pumps has changed all this. The invention of variable speed inverter-driven compressor technology now allows heat pumps to continue to function effectively at temperatures down to –10°F. Field tests in Minnesota have proven these heat pumps can take on the worst weather residential homes might meet during the winter. Heat pumps can also use backup electrical resistance heating systems to ensure homes won’t have to go without heat.
A Year-Round, Energy-Saving HVAC Solution
Keep in mind when you’re reading this that when you have a heat pump installed, you’re also getting a powerful cooling system, one that can equal the capacity of any AC of the same size. You can switch a heat pump from heating mode to cooling mode with just a change on the thermostat.
You’ll also save money with a heat pump thanks to how much less electricity they consume in heating mode compared to other types of heaters, especially the standard electricity-guzzling electric furnace. They’re also one of the safest heating options around!
If you want to know more about heat pumps and if one is ideal for your house, reach out to us.