Heat Pumps are an excellent way to improve the energy efficiency of your home and significantly reduce your utility costs, especially in warmer climates. They use the natural phenomenon of heat transfer by moving warm air from a cold area to a warm one. Heat pumps also offer a greener alternative to fossil fuel-based heating systems, since they don’t burn anything to generate warmth. And, when they’re powered by renewable solar or wind energy (or at least from a clean grid), they can even be considered a completely carbon-neutral heating system.
A Heat Pump uses the same refrigeration cycle as an air conditioner to move heat from the air in your house to the air outside. The difference is that in cooling mode, the reversing valve turns the flow of refrigerant inside the unit in reverse to extract heat from your home and move it to the outdoors. In winter, the process is reversed again, absorbing the heat from the outdoor air and delivering it to your home.
The efficiencies of modern heat pumps are quite high. For instance, the COP or coefficient of performance for most models is around 4. This means that for every unit of electrical energy used to power the system, it produces four units of heat energy. This is much more efficient than traditional oil, gas or electric furnaces.
Because of their efficiency, most homeowners are able to reduce or even eliminate their heating expenses with a heat pump system. And, when combined with a system of air conditioning, you’ll save even more on energy bills during the summer months.
When selecting a heat pump, it’s important to work with a certified Carrier dealer who has experience designing and installing residential heat pump systems for your area’s climate. It’s also wise to get referrals from your neighbors, friends or business associates who have had a heat pump installed. Local green-energy resource groups may also be able to provide contacts to qualified contractors.
Besides being more efficient than conventional systems, heat pumps tend to be safer than combustion-based systems. They do not burn anything to create warmth, so they’re less likely to cause a fire or leak. In fact, they’re so safe that most homeowners are concerned about their children accidentally starting a fire with a wood-burning fireplace.
If you’re interested in a heat pump for your home, contact your Carrier dealer for an estimate. We’ll make sure your new system is properly sized for your home and the climate where you live, so it can perform at its best with minimal energy consumption.
In areas with very cold climates, a backup system is often required to help the heat pump keep up during severe cold snaps. Typically, this involves an electric strip that’s built into the heat pump or the indoor air handler. This kind of system is relatively inexpensive to run, and it can get you through short cold spells when the heat pump can’t handle the load.