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How Does a Heat Pump Work?

Curious about heat pumps, but you just aren’t sure how they work? Let Godby simplify what they are all about.

We all know that heating and cooling your home is one of your largest expenses. If you have an electric furnace, a heat pump is a great way to reduce your cost.

OK, let’s get down to business and look at how this thing works. Heat pumps are working on one thing- heat transfer. If it is hot outside, it is transferring the heat from inside your home to the outside. If it is cold outside, it is pulling the heat that is outside, inside. (Yes, even if it feels cold outside, there is still heat out there to use.)

To cool your home, the heat pump, which is your outdoor unit, releases heat, just as your air conditioner/condensing unit would. To cool your home, the heat pump, just like your air conditioner, does not cool the air; it takes the heat from inside your home to outside your home. It does this by moving refrigerant from your indoor coil to your outdoor unit.

To heat your home, you may currently have an electric air handler or a gas furnace. A heat pump could be used to heat your home as a more efficient alternative. The heat pump works just like the air conditioner but in reverse.  The refrigerant is pulling the heat from the outside to the inside by the process of the refrigerant running in reverse.

Because of design parameters due to the Indiana climate, you would not typically depend on a heat pump as the only way to heat your home. Most heat pump systems are designed with a secondary or back up type of heat. The backup heat source is usually electric strip heat, like an electric air handler. The backup heat is used when either the heat pump can’t keep up due to the outside temperature or it becomes a financially inefficient way to heat your home.  In recent years, the terms dual fuel or hybrid system have become popular. Those terms are used when a gas furnace is used in conjunction with a heat pump. The gas furnace would come on when the heat pump could not keep up or it becomes financially inefficient to run.

Where you live can be a big factor in just how much money you can save on utilities while using a heat pump. We are fortunate, living in Indy, in that our utilities are fairly economical compared to other parts of the country. Outside of the Indy Metro area, you are potentially going to pay more for your utilities if you use a rural utility company and/or are using propane. Due to utility costs, a heat pump is a great choice because it is one of the most efficient ways to heat your home. But, no matter where you live, using less and spending less money is always the best option.

Intrigued? Want to know more about a heat pump and see what possible savings you could have? Don’t forget, there are potential tax/utility rebates and discounts that you can receive with installing a heat pump. Call Godby today to learn more.

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