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What is a Heat Pump, and How Does it Work?

What is a Heat Pump, and How Does it Work

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A heat pump will be essential to have a warm and cozy house during the wintertime. But it not only brings the heat to your house, but it will work as an air conditioner during the summer months and bring the cold from outside to cool your house.

In this article, you will find out what a heat pump is in and how it works.

What is a Heat Pump?

A heat pump works as your heating and cooling system. This will take place of any furnace or accompany one. There are dual-fuel systems that provide services from a heat pump and furnace to create the most fuel-efficient way to heat or cool your house.

The way your house is set up can vary the cost of a heat pump installation. A heat pump system requires supplemental heating to be wired in the house for a reasonable cost of installation. Since the system doesn’t require natural gas access, then the cost of a heat pump will most likely be cheaper than an air conditioning system or furnace.

A heat pump has the most efficient energy transformation. The furnace uses gas while the heat pump uses electricity to operate. The energy output in a heat pump is 300 percent more than the energy consumed, while a gas furnace is about 200 percent less proficient.

During below zero temperatures, the heat pump may have trouble transferring heat into the house. It will not perform at its highest energy-efficient benefits during this time. This might be a time to add supplemental systems to have the best results while using a heat pump.

Air Quality

The difference between the air quality of the furnace and the heat pump is very drastic. The furnace air is hot and dry. This air can dry out your skin but it will keep your home warm. The heat pump will only circulate the humid air which won’t dry out the skin, but the pump blows cooler air than the furnace.


The lifespan of a heat pump is about 15 years. This is the same as an air conditioner, but a furnace has a linger lifespan of 20 years. There is maintenance that needs to be done regularly to have the lifespan that was provided.

Overall, the heat pump is the best for the 30–40-degree Fahrenheit winters, or a dual system would be best for you.

How Does a Heat Pump Work?

Heat pumps are the opposite of furnaces. A furnace can generate hot, dry air from its system, but a heat pump just transfers air. The heat pump takes the warm air from outside and moves it inside. This is almost the same when cooling the house. There are indoor and outdoor units and when in cooling mode the indoor unit moves the hot air from inside and moves it outside.

How Does a Heat Pump Work

Indoor Unit

The indoor unit or handler unit uses a coil and a fan for its heating and cooling system. The coil evaporates or condenses depending on which mode. The indoor unit distributes the air that was heated from the coil, throughout the home. The outdoor unit brings the air in and the indoor unit distributes it. This is the opposite in the summer months. The indoor unit takes the air from inside to the outside unit and that unit blows it out.

Indoor Unit


Outdoor Unit

The outdoor unit has the same coil a fan to help with the process of heating and cooling. The coil heats the air the fan blows from outside to keep your house warm.

Outdoor Unit

Heat Mode

You might be wondering more about the transferring of cold air to heat a house. The heat pump works into heating your house with the cool air from outside. Warm temperatures naturally gravitate towards colder temperatures because they have less pressure. This makes it easy to warm a whole house with the colder air because the warmer of the air will naturally go towards the colder parts. This process takes place in the winter/colder months. No lower than 30-degree Fahrenheit to get maximum efficiency.

Cold Mode

Now the same physics apple to the cold mode as did the heating mode. This process is not reversed so that the cold can be harvested inside and heat can transfer outside. The inside unit is now the one to move the inside hot air into the outside unit. This process takes place in the summer/warmer months.

Let us know if you would like to learn more about heat pumps and how they work.

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