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What is a Heat Pump?


Have you ever heard of a heat pump? Most of the methods we use to heat homes right now involve burning fuel. You take gas, ignite it, and route the resulting heat through warm air (or warm water in the case of hydronic systems) all around the house. But heat pumps work differently. Instead of generating heat, heat pumps use electricity to capture and transfer heat from one location to another, heating one side of the system while cooling the other.

How Does It Work?

Heat pumps are essentially powerful, reversible air conditioners. Generally there is an indoor and an outdoor unit that work together, each with an exchanger coil. In one coil, liquid refrigerant is evaporated at low pressure, causing it to absorb heat from the surrounding area (cooling it). Then, as the gas moves to the second coil it condenses back to a liquid under high pressure, releasing the heat that it absorbed and warming the surrounding area.

By simply reversing the flow heat pumps are able to provide affordable, electrically-powered heating AND cooling for homes in all seasons and conditions.

heat pump diagram

Heat Pumps vs. Furnaces

While furnaces are the standard option today the market is steadily shifting, and the day is coming when heat pumps will be the standard option. Why?

Efficiency. Not only do heat pumps run on electricity rather than gas, but they can be more energy and cost efficient due to the fact that moving heat is far easier and more cost-effective than creating heat through combustion. As technology continues to advance, heat pumps will only become more efficient.

In addition, while furnaces may be cheaper than heat pumps to install they only provide warmth, which means you’ll need a separate AC system for the summer months. Heat pumps provide both heating andcooling, keeping your home temperate all conditions with a single home system.

Are There Any Disadvantages?

Aside from the higher upfront costs, heat pumps at full performance generate warm circulating air at about 100 degrees Fahrenheit—compared to 180 degree air generated by a furnace system. This means that heat pumps take longer to cope with big temperature shifts or warm a very cold house after a weekend away, for instance.

Interested In Exploring Your Options?

Since 1994 Baumann & DeGroot has been providing the best, most-affordable and reliable heating and cooling products and service in West Michigan. Whatever heating or cooling solution you may be considering, our team is qualified and ready to help you with great product selections and high quality installation and service.

Call today to learn more, or check out our blog and Facebook page for more information!

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