What Should Every Homeowner Know About Heat Pumps?

October 13, 2015

Heat pumps have been around for decades, but their name can be misleading. Heat pump systems provide home cooling in addition to heating. They accomplish this by transferring heat into or out of your home using refrigerant or antifreeze solution and a reversing valve. There are other essential components, of course, such as the HVAC blower to move air through the ducts and your home. A compressor prepares refrigerant for heat release, and your thermostat is control central. All in all, heat pump systems are basically A/C units that can go in reverse.

Air-Source Heat Pump EfficiencyAir-source heat pumps are by far the most common type of heat pump in the country. Air-source systems can be split units, with an indoor air handler and an outdoor unit that sits next to your home. Or they can be a packaged heat pump, which combines the indoor and outdoor components into one unit that is typically installed on rooftops. New high-efficiency air-source systems deliver twice the cooling and heating efficiency as very old heat pump units as indicated by the following ratings:

  • Seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER): SEER ratings are a factor of home cooling output in BTUs to the energy input during the course of the cooling months.
  • Heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF): HSPF ratings signify heating output to energy input during the course of the heating months.
Geothermal Heat Pump Efficiency Geothermal heat pumps utilize the stable and free heat of the earth to heat and cool your home. Using the ground or water as the heat-exchange source, geothermal systems are easily capable of meeting your heating load in the coldest temperatures. Geothermal systems cost more to install than air-source units. However, geothermal systems last twice as long and deliver greater efficiency. Following are the ratings used for geothermal units:
  • Energy efficiency ratio (EER): EER ratings represent home cooling output in BTUs to electricity input.
  • Coefficient of performance (COP): COP ratings represent home heating output to electricity input.
For more information about air-source and geothermal heat pumps, contact Lozier Heating & Cooling. We've helped Des Moines area residents with HVAC systems since 1906! Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Des Moines, Iowa area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: "Slavo Valigursky/Shutterstock"