While most people are familiar with standard forced-air HVAC systems, not as many are familiar with heat pumps. These systems move air inside or outside and remove the heat from that air using mechanical energy to create the desired heating or cooling effect. However, understanding how heat pumps work specifically involves taking a deeper dive into the system and its components.
When it comes to cooling your property, a heat pump works by absorbing heat from the interior air and forcing it outside. The system can absorb and transfer heat by circulating refrigerant. Through the process of evaporation and condensation, the system manipulates the refrigerant to affect external environmental conditions.
When it comes to heating your property, the process can seem unusual because the heat pump removes the heat from the outside air and forcing it inside. While this heat transfer may sound impossible since the air outside is cold, even cold air has heat energy. Although, there is less than in warmer weather, which is why heat pumps are most effective in mild climates. However, that doesn't mean they are ineffective in other conditions as well. Due to technological advancements, heat pumps are useful even in areas with harsher winters, such as New York.
Types of heat pumps
Heat pump cooling and heating systems come in a variety of styles and system types. For example, there are water source or geothermal options that use water pipes and underground heat. However, the most popular choices are air source heat pumps, and even those come in several styles.
A split system is similar to a central air unit, with a unit inside and one outside. However, as a heat pump system, there are evaporator and condenser coils in both units, allowing the system to absorb and release heat either inside or outside, depending on the desired temperature of the property owner.
Rooftop units are also known as packaged units, which are often installed on the roof of a property. These systems also have the same benefits as standard units, but they are more cost-effective than other more advanced systems, like the split system.
VRF, or variable refrigerant flow, systems are among the most advanced heat pump systems. These units are quieter, more energy-efficient, and precisely control multiple zones. Also, these units are capable of heating one space while simultaneously cooling another.
Ductless Mini-Split Systems
Most heat pumps require ductwork to transfer heat. However, mini-split systems are ductless units that use refrigerant lines to transfer heat to the fan/coil unit. These ductless systems can provide your home with both cooling and heating.
The advantages (and limitations) of heat pumps
The biggest drawback to heat pump systems is their lack of efficiency in colder or frigid climates, but technology is helping to curb that limitation. Obviously, here in Mississippi, our winter nights don't get that cold, making heat pumps a great fit for our climate. These systems are environmentally friendly with low maintenance costs and energy expenses.
Want to learn more about how heat pumps work and whether one is right for your home? Do you live in the Meridian area? Then, contact our team to discuss your new system options. We offer free in-home estimates on new heat pumps.