Heat pumps are machines that move heat from a cool place to a warm place. For example, in the winter, a heat pump will move the heat in the colder outsides into the warm interior living space. Similarly, during hotter months when the house is kept cool, a heat pump will remove the heat from the inside of the house and release it into much warmer outside environment. They do not generate heat, unlike a gas or electric furnace; they simply move it. Heat pump repair is as easy as calling an HVAC specialist.
Traditional heat pumps (where the pump is the only source of heat) are only right in certain situations. Those in colder climates will not see much benefit from heat pumps, as the pump loses effectiveness as the outside temperature drops. In a milder climate, where “cold” means 50° or 40°F, the outside temperature remains high enough to be useful, but at temperatures under 30°F, an additional heat source is needed.
Hybrid Heat Systems
Hybrid heat systems use a heat pump and a furnace to control interior temperature. When the temperature is above 30°F, the pump does the work. When the temperature falls below that point, the furnace takes over. This type of setup is perfectly suitable for colder climates and is much more efficient and effective than just having one or the other.
Heat pumps are rated for efficiency by their HSPF, heating seasonal performance factor. A higher number means less energy consumption and/or waste. There are three different performance options when buying a heat pump—single-stage, two-stage, and modulating heat. Most businesses offer at least two of three types in their product lines, with an example being Goodman’s electric heat pump.
Single-Stage Heat Pump
These heat pumps run at full capacity all the time. There is no option to moderate or increase the amount of heat entering the home; when the ideal temperature is reached, the compressor stops and the fan blows out any remaining hot or cold air. Single-stage heat pumps are the most inexpensive option, but they lack the efficiency of the two-stage and modulating varieties.
Two-Stage Heat Pump
A two-stage heat pump has the ability to run at two different levels—maximum capacity and 65% of the maximum capacity. Most homes can maintain a comfortable temperature by keeping the pump on its low setting. Two-stage pumps fall between single stage and modulating pumps in terms of both price and efficiency.
Modulating Heat Pump
Modulating heat pumps are the latest in heat pump technology and, as such, are the highest in price and efficiency out of the three. These types of pumps can run at a range of different capacities, usually from about 40% to 100% are typically best choice for those who want to maintain an ideal living environment all year and save some money whilst doing so.
Heat pumps use refrigerants to facilitate the transport of heat from one location to another. Up until recently, the standard chemical was R22, or freon. However, because it is quite harmful to the environment, most brands have ceased using it and adopted more environmentally-friendly methods. It is set to be completely phased out by 2020; until then, freon is expected to become more and more scarce, as companies stop purchasing it and use up their existing stocks.
Gulf Coast Heating and Cooling is your Heat Pump Specialist on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.