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Heat Pump – A Heater and Air Conditioner in one

Recent technical improvements have made heat pumps more effective and reliable. At the same time prices have come so far down, that a heat pump is now considered a worthwhile investment. Especially since a heat pump runs approximately 3 times more energy-efficiently than the electric furnace, which is a common heating method in the Sarasota area.

So, how does a heat pump work?

Even though you may not feel it, temperatures over absolute zero (0 Kelvin or -460 degrees Fahrenheit) contain heat. Whereas an air conditioner transfers heat from the inside to the outside, a heat pump pulls heat in from the outside. Simply said, a heat pump is a backwards-running air conditioner. When an air conditioner runs as a heat pump, the condenser acts as an evaporator and the evaporator acts as a condenser.
In a condenser, the refrigerant liquid (e.g. Freon) is put under high pressure, which induces condensation. When something condensates, it gives away heat.
In an evaporator, the refrigerant liquid is put under less pressure than normal, which induces boiling or rather evaporation. When something evaporates, it pulls heat from any heat source around it and makes things cold.
So, when your heat pump heats your home, the condenser is logically inside and the evaporator is outside. When your heat pump runs in cooling mode (or rather, as a regular air conditioner), the condenser is outside and the evaporator is inside. This is possible mainly through the extra reversible valve in a heat pump system. The switching process takes place automatically without you noticing anything.

What are the advantages of a heat pump?
  • As already mentioned, one of the biggest advantages of a heat pump is the capability to save electricity. This will help you save money and protect the environment.
  • It is easy and convenient to use.
  • A heat pump can improve indoor air quality, especially when compared with an electric furnace. If you have an electric furnace, I am sure you have already noticed the bad smell of burnt dust upon turning on your heating for the first time in the colder season. Because a heat pump does not rely on glowing heating coils, which collect dust, you won’t have that nasty smell any more. Additionally, heat pumps don’t burn indoor oxygen, like electric furnaces do.
  • Because no burning-hot parts are required for the heating process, a heat pump is safer to operate than many other conventional heating methods (e.g. electric furnace or fan heater).
What are things to consider before purchasing a heat pump?
  • Heat pumps do a great job of heating your home when the outside temperature is over 40 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperatures hit the low 30s or below, heat pumps lose efficiency and are no longer a dependable heat source. Luckily, our customers in the Sarasota area rarely experience such cold temperatures. To guarantee dependable heating in the Sarasota area, we recommend having a secondary heat source (for instance an electric furnace). Such a combination is referred to as a two stage heating system. But the good news is that you don’t have to worry about switching between the heat pump and your backup heating system. Modern thermostats do this for you and run your two stage heating system fully automatically.
  • Even though the initial cost for a heat pump compared to a regular air conditioner is higher, over time, this investment will pay off. Additionally, there might be rebates available from the manufacturer, the federal government or your power company. If you live in the Sarasota area and need help with financing your new heat pump installation, Kobie Complete has convenient financing options available to you.
  • Like air conditioners, heat pumps also have a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating. If you are going to buy a heat pump, look for a heat pump with a high SEER number. This will save you money in the long run. Currently, one of the most quiet and efficient heat pumps is the Lennox XP21 with an SEER rating up to 19.2.

Are you interested in upgrading your Sarasota home’s cooling and heating system with a heat pump? Request a free estimate or call us at (941) 474-3691. We will be glad to answer all your questions and recommend you a heating option tailored to your needs.

As “Your Complete Comfort Specialists”, Kobie Complete Heating & Cooling keeps you feeling comfortable in your home year around.

Published on October 31, 2012 - Author: Johannes Gross

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