If you live in an area of extreme weather or, more specifically, extreme temperature conditions, then it is likely that you will not be familiar with heat pumps. A heat pump is a device which can either warm or cool an area by transporting air from one area to another. Although you may not be aware of the name, the concept is the same as the system used in most refrigeration units and air conditioners, although these systems only work one way, whereas heat pumps can be reversed using a valve system.
Heat pumps work by using refrigerants such as propane, butane or hydrofluorocarbons to absorb heat energy and transport it either inside or outside a building. To cool a room, a heat pump will absorb heat from inside a room through a unit acting as an evaporator and then transport it to the outdoor condenser where it is rejected. In heating mode, the device roles are switched and the outdoor unit becomes the evaporator, absorbing heat energy from the outside air, pressurizing it and moving it indoors to the condenser.
Heat pumps are most advantageous when used in areas of temperate climate where temperatures rarely drop below zero. This is because they are designed to both warm and cool an area. The initial cost of installation is going to be a little higher than an individual air-conditioning unit or central heating system. Still, on top of the multi-usage system of heat pumps, there are a few other major advantages.
Heat pumps are one of the most efficient ways of heating and cooling your home, though it is worthy to note that they work slightly better in terms of ‘coefficient of performance’ (COP) in areas of warmer climates. Although their COP drops in cooler climates, they are still more efficient than using an equivalent electric resistance style heater. Better COP means less electricity used and, obviously, cheaper power bills for you.
Some other advantages to fitting a heat pump are that the noise that is sometimes generated by heating systems and air conditioning units can be quite annoying, while with a heat pump, and primarily the fact that the condenser unit is located outdoors, they are relatively quiet. Also, the way that heat pumps work to heat your home means that there is also no need for an air humidifier, which is sometimes needed to eradicate the ‘dry air’ feel generated by using certain kinds of heating systems. While initial purchase and installation costs will inevitably seem steep, with the advantages mentioned and the power savings possible, heat pumps certainly make the best choice for people living in temperate climates who want an all-in-one solution to temperature control in their homes.