When it comes to heating and cooling your home, Heat Pumps are becoming an increasingly popular option.
Unlike a furnace, a heat pump doesn’t burn any fuel to create heat; it only transfers warm air.
During the summer, a heat pump pulls heat out of the house and transfers it outdoors, operating very similarly to a standard central air conditioning system.
In the winter, a heat pump does the reverse process: it captures heat from the outside air and moves it inside the house.
This may seem strange, but even during the dead of winter there is still heat in the outdoor air (although it may be compressed), and this is what the heat pump collects and releases inside the house to make the indoor temperature comfortable.
A heat pump is truly an all-in-one home comfort system—functioning as a heater in the winter and an air conditioner in the summer.
Heat pumps—an especially good alternative for Southern homeowners
While Heat Pumps can do a great job at heating and cooling your home, they’re not the best option for everyone. This in big part depends on what part of the country you live in.
In Atlanta, Georgia and other parts of the South, with hot summers and mild winters, heat pumps are often the ideal choice for home comfort systems.
That’s because even when it’s “cold” outside in Georgia during winter, it usually doesn’t dip below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and there’s normally a fair amount of heat outside for the heat pump to bring indoors.
And really, it’s not difficult for the heat pump to move heat indoors when there’s a minimal temperature difference between the outdoor and indoor air; the inside temperature may only need to be 20 or 30 degrees warmer than the outside air.
During the summer, when homeowners are seeking cooler indoor air, heat pumps have nearly the same efficiency as a dedicated central air conditioning unit or system.
A heat pump can handle the steamy, muggy weather just as well as most AC units.
On the other hand, heat pumps aren’t nearly as effective in colder, northern climates where the air temperature dips below freezing on a regular basis.
When it’s that cold, it’s much harder for a heat pump to extract heat from the outside air. If the heat pump can’t collect enough warm air, supplemental energy will be needed in order to get a house to a comfortable temperature.
In that situation, a heat pump may have added electric heating coils in the air handler to provide supplemental heating—but the cost of this electric heating can be more than the cost of oil or gas heat from a furnace.
Other top reasons to consider a heat pump for your home
If you live in the Atlanta, Georgia area, there are additional reasons to consider having a heat pump installed, besides the fact that you live in a moderate climate.
Heat pumps offer a number of distinct advantages to homeowners, including:
- Energy efficiency. If you are not living somewhere with frigid winters, heat pumps are normally the most energy-efficient way to heat your home during the winter. Because a heat pump simply transfers heat instead of creating it, it can be 3 to 4 times more efficient than even the best gas and electric heaters.
- Environmental-friendly. Unlike furnaces, heat pumps do not burn anything, so they do not produce soot, smoke or fumes while they operate. The majority of the energy they use (up to 75 percent) comes from the environment; they only use a small amount of electricity to move heat. There is no carbon emission (beyond the minimal amount of electrical energy required to run the compressor).
- Lower installation cost. In general, the price tag on the installation of a heat pump system is much lower than what it costs to have a furnace put in. That’s because furnaces require an extensive ventilation system (flues, vent pipes, etc.), which must be added into the total cost of a furnace installation if the home doesn’t already have one.
- Safety. There are no flames or hot surfaces associated with heating pumps that children can touch and hurt themselves on, unlike with gas burners and wood stoves. Not only that, there is no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning when you’re using a heat pump.
- Little noise when running. While furnaces run loudly when in use—enough to make it hard to relax at times—most heat pumps operate very quietly and do not make nearly as much noise. About all that’s heard when a heat pump is in operation is a very low humming sound.
- Reduced dry air inside the home. Electric heat pumps do not produce dry air when heating, nor do they remove the moisture from the air—unlike furnaces which create a lot of dry, high-static air when running. When a home is heated by a furnace, a humidifier is often required to make the indoor air more comfortable. A humidifier is not needed when a heat pump is used, since moisture remains in the air.
- Improved air quality. Heat pumps circulate the air in your home while the filters clean and purify the air to effectively remove dust, odors, mold, smoke, pet dander and other airborne irritants. They can be the perfect solution for people with asthma or allergies, or for anyone concerned about indoor air quality.
- Reliability. Heat pumps have been used widely since the 1940s and their design has been tried, tested and proven. With regular maintenance, a heat pump can last as long as a quality air conditioner—often 10 to 15 years or longer.
Contact Our Professionals Today
Some types of heat pumps are better-suited for certain styles of homes than others. We’ll be happy to go over the different options with you, provide an accurate cost estimate, and answer any questions you may have.