What is an HVAC Heat Pump and How Does it Work?

air conditioner heat pump

As many homeowners look to save costs with their heating and cooling bills, they inevitably come across the term “heat pump” and wonder what it means. Is it a literal pump, such as an old-fashioned well? Does it replace your current HVAC system? If you’ve ever wondered “What is an HVAC heat pump and how does it work”, then you’ve come to the right place today!

So what is a heat pump exactly?
A heat pump is an HVAC solution to help maximize your home’s energy usage. It often has two pieces: an inside and outside unit, both with a coil and a fan. It acts as a transfer unit, bringing heat from one location (such as the outside or underground) to the inside of your home. Alternatively, to cool your home, it transfers the hot air from the inside to the outside.

Essentially, a heat pump is a conduit to keep your home’s temperature more thoroughly regulated.

Does it replace your furnace?
Functionally, a heat pump sounds like it performs the same function as your furnace. Practically speaking, they work very differently.

A furnace uses forced air to move heat throughout your home. It generates heat by burning natural gas, fuel oil, or propane. A heat pump, as we mentioned, transfers existing heated air from one location (such as geothermal) to your home.

During our cold Utah winters, a heat pump can complement the operation of a standard HVAC furnace. However, it won’t be as efficient in a stand-alone configuration compared to a furnace plus heat pump scenario. In other words, it won’t replace your furnace but it sure can help it function better and reduce your annual heating costs.

Can it replace your air conditioner?
So what about air conditioning units? Can you get by with a heat pump in lieu of a traditional central air unit?

An air conditioner is a system that pulls hot air from your home, cools it via a condenser, and recirculates the air back into your living spaces. A heat pump, on the other hand, helps to cool your home by completely removing the hot air from your house.

Functionally, a heat pump could replace your home’s central air conditioning unit. It’s more energy efficient than most residential AC setups and helps to leave your home nice and cool all summer long.

Why would you choose a heat pump over a traditional HVAC system?
So, if you’re wondering whether you could replace your entire HVAC system with a heat pump, the answer is no. A heat pump can take the place of an AC unit, but would be impractical during the winter for your only source of heat.

However, this is not to say you shouldn’t add a heat pump to your heating and cooling system. In fact, your heat pump can significantly reduce your costs by making your home’s setup more efficient and saving you money in the long run. Here in Utah, you wouldn’t choose a heat pump over a traditional HVAC system, but you definitely could (and should) incorporate one into your existing setup!

Salt Lake City’s solution for heat pump installation and maintenance

We would love to give you a quote for both the installation of a brand new heat pump as well as helping you with your ongoing HVAC maintenance needs. Contact us by requesting a free quote online or give us a call at 801-980-0903.

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