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What Is A Heat Pump And How Does It Work?

What is a heat pump
Jul 07, 2023 | By  Right Time

What is a heat pump, and how does it work?

Offering both warmth during winter and refreshing coolness in summer, these versatile devices have revolutionized the way we, as homeowners, control indoor climate. But what is a heat pump, and how does it work? This is a question we get from our customers here at Wardlaw Heating and Air Conditioning. Therefore, if you’re interested in upgrading your home comfort but aren’t sure whether a heat pump is right for you and your home, keep reading to find out more! We’re breaking down all the ins and outs of these HVAC systems below! Let’s get started!

How does a heat pump work step by step?

Ever wondered how a heat pump operates? Here’s a closer look into the inner workings of this innovative HVAC system:

Step 1: Is it cold in here?

Imagine you’re in a warm home during the winter, and you notice a sudden chill in the air. You want to heat the space, but you also want it to be energy efficient. This is where a heat pump comes in handy!

Step 2: Find a heat source

The heat pump begins its work by locating a source of heat. It can extract heat from a variety of sources. However, the outdoor air is the most popular choice.

Step 3: Heat absorption

The outdoor unit of the heat pump contains a particular refrigerant that can absorb heat from the outside air even when it feels cold to us. The refrigerant acts like a sponge, absorbing heat from the outside air.

Step 4: Compressing the heat

The heat from the air is captured by the refrigeration fluid, which is compressed by the unit’s compressor. This compression raises the temperature of the liquid, making it significantly hotter than the ambient air.

Step 5: Delivering heat

Now that the refrigerant has warmed up, it is ready to deliver heat to your home. The hot refrigerant flows through tubes or ducts to the heat pump’s indoor unit, transporting the warmth that it gathered from the outside.

Step 6: Heat distribution

The captured heat is released into the indoor air by the heat pump’s indoor unit. The heated air is circulated throughout your residence by your air ducts or a vent.

Step 7: Cooling the refrigerant back down

After the refrigerant has given up its heat to toast the inside of your house, it comes back to the heat pump’s outdoor unit. The refrigerant discharges the heat it took in outside and cools down, ready to restart the process.

Is a heat pump better than an AC?

It goes without saying that your needs as a homeowner will ultimately determine whether a heat pump is superior to an air conditioner. However, here are a few highlights to keep in mind before making a decision:

·  Their overall versatility: Heat pump units can both heat and cool, whereas air conditioning units can only cool.

·  Energy efficiency: Heat pumps are typically more energy-efficient in terms of heating because they transfer heat rather than generate it. However, in terms of cooling efficiency, an air conditioner and a heat pump are comparable.

·  Climate considerations: Heat pumps work well in mild climates where the temperature fluctuates throughout the year. Air conditioners function successfully in environments where temperatures are above 30 degrees Celsius for the majority of the year.

·  Upfront costs: Heat pumps are more expensive to buy and install in comparison to air conditioning systems.

Again, the decision between a heat pump and an air conditioner is determined by your climate, energy efficiency goals, heating needs, and budget. Consulting with HVAC professionals can provide valuable insights and assist you in choosing the best solution for your unique circumstances at hand.

What is the average lifespan of a heat pump?

The average lifespan of a heat pump can vary based on a number of variables, including the unit’s quality, maintenance practices, and how it is used. A well-maintained heat pump can typically last 15 to 20 years. However, with the proper care, it is not unusual for some heat pumps to function effectively for longer, given how durable these types of HVAC systems are.

To ensure that your heat pump system remains efficient for as long as possible, it is absolutely essential that you schedule a regular maintenance appointment with a certified technician at least once a year. Not only is this going to keep your unit in good working order, but it’s also going to help reduce the likelihood of repairs and keep your energy costs low.

While heat pumps have a projected lifespan, individual units can encounter differences due to factors such as climate, usage intensity, and overall wear and tear. If your heat pump begins to have frequent failures or inefficiencies, it may be a sign that it is nearing the end of its service lifespan and will need to be replaced or repaired. HVAC professionals can provide customized recommendations based on your specific situation.

How noisy is a heat pump?

The noise level of a heat pump can vary depending on the model, size, and location of the unit. Modern heat pumps are built to be quiet, with occupant comfort as a top priority. Outdoor units contain compressors and fans that may make some noise, but improvements have resulted in quieter operation. To reduce noise, high-quality heat pumps proper installation, including stable positioning and vibration-reducing pads, also contributes to lower operational noise. Indoor units, like standard air conditioners, typically make little noise from the fan.

Are you ready to get started with your heat pump installation? If the answer is yes, Wardlaw Heating and Air Conditioning are prepared to make it happen! For over 40 years, the team at Wardlaw Heating and Air Conditioning has proudly served the Sault Ste. Marie area and surrounding towns, offering high-quality installations and customized customer experiences. Schedule a consultation appointment with us today to receive a free new system purchase quote from one of our experienced home comfort advisors!

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