What Is a Heat Pump and How Does It Work?

Heater Pump

A heat pump is an appliance that can be used to heat and cool your home.

Heat pumps work via electricity to transfer heat from a cool space to a warm space. This enables the system to draw hot air out of your home during warm weather to cool it. It’s also able to draw warm air from outdoors to heat your home during colder weather.

What Is a Heat Pump System?

A heat pump system is a great alternative to furnaces and air conditioners for most climates. Heat pumps function around the concept of transferring heat, not generating it, and can efficiently provide a comfortable living environment.

Different Types of Heat Pumps

There are three common types of heat pumps. These heat pumps all use HVAC duct systems to distribute air throughout the house. The three main heat pumps include air-source heat pumps, water-source heat pumps, and geothermal heat pumps.

Air-Source Heat Pumps

Air-source heat pumps are the most common type of heat pump. They function by exchanging heat from your house to the outside. Newly made heat pump models can potentially save up to 50 percent on electricity compared to electric resistance heating like furnaces and baseboard heaters.

Air-source heat pumps also come as a ductless version, for homes without a duct system already installed. These are called mini-split heat pumps.

Air to Water Heat Pumps

An air-to-water heat pump works in a similar way to an air-to-air heat pump with one exception. Instead of pumping air onto the house, the heat pump uses the warm air to warm up water, which heats your house via radiators and underfloor heating systems.

Heat from the air is absorbed into the water and then passed through the heat pump and distributed throughout the house. These systems work especially well for target or zone heating your house if you only want to focus on sending the heat to a specific area.

Water Source Heat Pumps 

Water source heat pumps are designed to trap heat from an underground water source and distribute it through an interconnected water loop. Once the water has circulated through the loop, it will either be rejected through a cooling tower or put to work in other areas.

You see these systems more commonly in large buildings such as schools, hotels, or condos, but they are also applicable for home use.

Is a Heat Pump an HVAC System?

Yes. A heat pump is a type of HVAC equipment. It can function to heat and cool your home. Some may deem heat pumps are only HVAC systems when they distribute air through a duct system, but ductless heat pumps are also used for heating and cooling and could be considered part of the HVAC family.

Components of a Heat Pump System

Heat pumps are very simple systems, consisting of two main components. First, there’s the outdoor unit, which looks very much like an air conditioning unit but is referred to as a heat pump. Secondly, there’s an indoor air handler. These can look different depending on the type of heat pump you have (air-sourced or water-sourced).

The outdoor unit contains a compressor that circulates refrigerant that absorbs and releases heat as it travels from outside to inside.

Central Florida HVAC Services 

If you live in the central Florida area and are looking for a cost-effective way to heat and cool your home, a heat pump may be the right solution. Contact our team at Patrick’s Heating and Air Conditioning at (352) 329-3740 or book a free estimate online.

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