Winter will soon be here in Middle Tennessee and along with it, home heating bills. If you’re like most of us, your home is heated by a furnace. There are other home heating options, however. One of the most efficient ways to heat (and cool!) your home is by using a heat pump. How, you might wonder? In layman’s terms, a heat pump is like a two-way air conditioner. In the wintertime, it pulls heat from the air outside into your home. In the summertime, it removes heat from the air in your home, and transports it outside. There are several types of heat pumps available for home installation. Today, we’ll take a brief look at two of them.
Air-Source Heat Pumps
The first kind of heat pump is an air-source heat pump. These pumps use air for the heat transfer point. They are typically installed on the outside of your home. Air-source pumps work to heat your home by pulling heat out of the outside air using liquid refrigerant. Outside your home, low-temperature and low-pressure liquid refrigerant passes over a series of outside coils, where it boils, then evaporates into a gas. This gas contains latent heat. A compressor then increases the pressure of this vapor, raising its temperature, and it is returned to the inside. Once inside the home, the vapor passes through a pressure valve and over another series of coils, where it condenses back into a liquid, and releases its stored latent heat into the indoor air. During the hot summer months, the system is reversed, pulling the hot air from inside your home, then transporting the heat outside. This system is powered by electricity.
Geothermal Heat Pumps
Geothermal heat pumps use a series of long loops buried in your yard to transport the refrigerant between your home and the outside. Instead of pulling heat from the outside air, which can be difficult with extremely cold temperatures, the heat is absorbed into the refrigerant in the underground loops, from the relatively constant and stable 50 degree temperature in the earth. The heated refrigerant is then returned to the indoor coil of the heat pump, where the heat is distributed as warm air. With geothermal heat pumps, you can attach a desuperheater to the system, which will also provide you with hot water. (You can learn more about superheaters and heat pump water heaters here.) Geothermal systems also run on electricity.
Both air-source and geothermal systems are safer for your home than gas, propane, or oil heating systems. Since these systems rely upon burning fuel to provide heat, the risk of carbon monoxide is present. Heat pump systems use no combustible fuel, so there is no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Ready to make the switch from a furnace to a heat pump? Let us help you! Call us today to schedule a professional consultation. We’ll assess your home and walk you through all your options for installation.