So your current furnace or air conditioner just isn’t cutting it, and you’ve started looking for a new HVAC system. Perhaps you’ve stumbled across some articles that say a heat pump is the way to go. But is it? How does a heat pump work? What are the benefits? Worry not! Our team at Comfort Zone Heating & Air Conditioning is here to explain everything you need to know about heat pumps.

What is a Heat Pump?

Let’s start with the basics. What is a heat pump, and how does it differ from other HVAC systems? A heat pump is an HVAC system that both heats and cools. Unlike an air conditioner (cooling-only) or furnace (heating-only), heat pumps can both heat or cool your home by moving heat in or out.

Heat pumps have two main parts: an indoor unit, and an outdoor unit. The outdoor unit has a coil which acts as either the condenser or evaporator depending on whether heating or cooling is desired. The indoor unit (aka “air handler”) helps to distribute the treated air through the ductwork in your home.

A heat pump is an attractive option for homeowners in a few different situations. One is if you’re already considering replacing your heating or cooling system, and the other is a good candidate for replacement as well. Or, if your home already has a heating system but no air conditioning and you’d benefit from some extra heating as well as cooling in the summer, a heat pump is worth investigating!

How Does a Heat Pump Work?

Heat pumps operate using electricity and refrigerant to transfer heat either in or out. Unlike a furnace, a heat pump doesn’t generate heat – it simply moves it! In the winters, a heat pump pulls heat from the outdoors and pushes it into your home when it’s in heating-mode.

In the summers, that operation is reversed. In cooling-mode, a heat pump pulls hot air from inside your home and moves it out to cool things down.

This “dual” purpose of both heating and cooling that most models of heat pumps afford make them a very attractive option! Only needing one system for all seasons keeps things simple. Or, adding a heat pump for some extra heating in the winters as well as powerful air conditioning in the summers works wonders in many situations.

Types of Heat Pumps

Next, let’s look at the different types of heat pumps. The most common is what is called an “air-source” heat pump. These are mainly what we’re discussing in this blog, and use the heat in the air to control indoor temperatures. This is the most common type of heat pump you’ll find for residential applications.

There are also “ground-source”, or “geothermal” heat pumps. These use the heat in the ground as well as the air in your home to control the temperature. Geothermal heat pumps can be more expensive to install, but since there’s lots of heat in the ground, can be less expensive to run.

There are several other types of heat pumps as well, including ductless, absorption, and water-source heat pumps. Water-source heat pumps utilize heat via water instead of the air, but you usually wouldn’t find one of these for residential use because of the piping system it requires.

Advantages of a Heat Pump

Besides providing both heating and cooling, what else makes heat pumps worth considering? Well, one of the biggest draws is their efficiency ratings. Most heat pumps use less energy to heat and cool your home, which means lower energy bills in many cases! Plus, heat pumps operate using electricity. That means they are more eco-friendly than their oil or natural gas counterparts.

Space is another consideration. If a heat pump is your only HVAC system, that means you won’t need the space that both a furnace and air conditioner would require. Even if you use a heat pump in tandem with a furnace, you’re still getting quiet, powerful, efficient and heating and cooling all from one electric device!

Main benefits of a heat pump
  • Heating and cooling in one system
  • More eco-friendly
  • Low maintenance
  • Quiet operation
  • Save space with only one unit

It is worth noting that electricity – while more eco-friendly – can be more expensive than gas or oil as a fuel source in some instances. This depends on the ever-fluctuating prices of each of these fuels sources. Still, you’ll generally find that even if the cost of electricity is a bit higher, the benefits and efficiency levels more than make up for that discrepancy.

In fact, Lennox heat pumps boast SEER2 ratings of as high as 23, and HSPF ratings of over 10. These high ratings mean the system is highly efficient and needs less energy to deliver the same performance. There are also a range of high-end options to choose from including variable capacity models, and plenty of single-stage, mid-efficiency models that deliver dependable heating and cooling year after year.

Heat Pump Cost and Maintenence

The initial cost of a heat pump will vary depending on a number of factors including the exact make and model, the difficulty of installation, whether you have existing ductwork, and more. The average homeowner can expect the installation to cost somewhere in the range of $3,000 to $6,000. While that can sometimes be higher than the average central forced-air furnace or air conditioner, remember that a heat pump is an all-in-one heating and cooling system! That means you only need to install one unit, not two.

Once installed, your heat pump needs the same annual maintenance as any other HVAC system. You’ll want to schedule this important service each year to ensure everything is working as it should. When a heat pump is properly installed and regularly maintained, you can expect it to last upwards of 15 years!

Interested in a New Heat Pump?

Are you ready to find out more about a new heat pump for your home? You can count on Comfort Zone Heating & Air Conditioning to answer all of your questions! We’ve been serving homeowners in the Cobourg, ON and Northumberland County area for over 15 years. We are locally-owned and operated, and have a highly experienced HVAC team ready to meet your needs.

With financing on approved credit, a great selection of quality heat pumps, and a 100% Happy Customer Guarantee, we’re the best choice for your heat pump installation. Plus, we’re a proud Lennox Premier Dealer – a status that demonstrates our commitment to 5-star customer service, a high level of industry expertise, and installing the highest quality of HVAC systems and products for our customers.

If you’d like to learn more about heat pumps or request a quote for installation, we’d be glad to speak with you. Please contact our team at Comfort Zone Heating & Air Conditioning today!

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