Due to their efficiency and reduced environmental footprint, sales of heat pumps continue to grow rapidly across Indiana and the entire country. As consumers take advantage of available tax credits and reap the benefits of lower energy bills, heat pumps are now a mainstream system in the HVAC industry.
But while millions of homeowners already have heat pumps installed in their homes, many still have questions regarding how they operate, how efficient they are, and whether heat pump installation is right for their homes. In our most recent blog, the HVAC professionals at Armor Air explain everything you need to know about heat pumps. Contact us today for HVAC service in Indianapolis and across Central Indiana.
What Is a Heat Pump, and How Does It Work?
An air-source heat pump is a type of heating and cooling system that is unique in that it can provide both heating and cooling for year-round comfort. Heat pumps use electricity to move heat inside and outside the home depending on the season.
Although they operate similarly to air conditioners during warmer months, it’s how they run in colder temperatures that really sets them apart. While in heating mode, heat pumps don’t require the use of a fuel source such as oil or natural gas to produce heat energy, making them highly efficient and environmentally friendly. Instead, heat pumps work by extracting warm air from outside using refrigerant. The heated refrigerant then passes through the condenser, releasing heat into your ductwork and your living areas.
During cooling mode, a heat pump works in reverse. The refrigerant absorbs heat from indoor spaces which is then compressed by the compressor which raises its temperature. The heated refrigerant passes through the condenser, and the warm air is released outside. Ductwork then distributes the cool air throughout your home.
Although air-source heat pumps are the most commonly installed heat pump system, geothermal or ground-source heat pumps are also growing in popularity. Instead of transferring heat from the inside and outside of a home, geothermal heat pumps transfer the air between the home and under the ground where temperatures are stable throughout the year even on the coldest and hottest days.
What Are the Components of a Heat Pump?
Air-source heat pumps consist of two main components: an outside unit, which resembles the outdoor unit of an air conditioning system, and an indoor unit. Some of the most important components include:
The Outdoor Unit
An air-source heat pump’s outdoor unit houses the coil and a fan. The coil operates as an evaporator in heating mode and a condenser in cooling mode. To facilitate the heat exchange, the fan blows outdoor air over the coil.
The Indoor Unit
Similar to the outdoor unit, the indoor unit consists of a coil and a fan. The coil functions as an evaporator during cooling mode and a condenser in heating mode. The fan plays a crucial role in circulating air over the coil and distributing it through a home’s ducts.
The refrigerant is responsible for absorbing heat in one location and releasing it in another. During the winter, the refrigerant absorbs heat from the outside air and releases it into the indoor air to provide heating. In the summer, it does the opposite, absorbing heat from the inside air and carrying it to the outside unit where it is released into the air outside.
As its name suggests, a heat pump’s compressor compresses the refrigerant to increase its temperature and pressure. When providing cooling, the compressor compresses the refrigerant after it has absorbed heat from indoors to raise the temperature before it is released outside through the condenser. For heating purposes, the compressor pressures the refrigerant after it has extracted heat from the outside, which raises its temperature, before releasing the heat indoors through the condenser.
The reversing valve reverses the flow of refrigerant so the system can seamlessly switch between heating and cooling modes.
A heat pump’s expansion valve serves as a regulator for the flow of refrigerant fluid, moving it from the high-pressure side to the low-pressure side of the system. This process results in a decrease in temperature as the refrigerant fluid enters the evaporator, which is necessary for effectively absorbing heat from either the outdoor air or ground in heating mode or the indoor air in cooling mode.
What Are the Benefits of Installing a Heat Pump System?
If you’re undecided about whether a heat pump system might be right for your Indianapolis, IN area home, consider some of the following benefits:
Heating and Cooling in One
Homeowners love their heat pumps because of their ability to provide both heating and cooling for year-round comfort. It’s important to note that once the outside temperature reaches about 32 degrees, you typically need an auxiliary heating source such as a gas furnace.
As more homeowners look for more environmentally friendly ways to live, they’re frequently turning to heat pumps. Since heat pumps run completely on electricity, they don’t burn fuel and create carbon emissions. You also won’t have to worry about the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning or gas leaks.
Increased Efficiency and Lower Energy Costs
Heat pumps are far more efficient than other heating systems because they don’t create heat; they simply transfer heat. Heat pump systems can transfer up to 300% more energy than they consume, making them highly energy efficient compared to other HVAC systems. This can significantly reduce your monthly energy bills.
Well-maintained heat pumps can last as long as 15 years, which is on par with many other types of heating and air conditioner systems. This is impressive considering many heat pump units are used year-round.
If you’re considering installing a heat pump, now is a great time. Installing an Energy Star-certified heat pump can provide homeowners with a tax credit covering 30% of the installation costs. Contact Armor Air to learn more about available tax credits.
Is a Heat Pump Right for Your Indianapolis Home?
If you’re unsure whether a heat pump is right for your Indianapolis, IN home, contact a reputable HVAC company such as Armor Air to help you weigh the pros and cons. As we previously mentioned, heat pumps provide a number of advantages over traditional heating and cooling systems including improved efficiency and a reduced impact on the environment. However, heat pumps are typically more expensive to install compared to other HVAC systems, and they don’t operate as well during really cold stretches during the winter.
Contact Armor Air for Heat Pump Installation
If you believe a heat pump might be the right choice for your Indianapolis, IN home, reach out to the home comfort experts at Armor Air to schedule an appointment. We will provide you with timely, professional, and cost-effective installation services. When you work with Armor Air, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing the job was done right the first time. Contact us today for heat pump maintenance, heat pump repair, or installation service in Indianapolis, IN.