What is a Heat Pump?

Many of us are familiar with the quiet comfort that comes from owning or using a heat pump in our homes and businesses. The comfort and efficiency we’ve all come to know and rely on from our heat pumps and AC units is something we rarely have to think about, but how many of us actually know how a modern heat pump works?

Of course, many of us have never seen the inner workings of a heat pump or air conditioner, so they can be a bit of an enigma. However, a look inside one of these elegant machines can provide a world of understanding for how these modern miracles heat and cool the buildings where we live and work.

In Simple terms

The simplest way to describe a heat pump is as “a machine which moves heat from one place to another, using a small amount of energy”. These machines take heat from the air around them, or from the ground, to heat a building or home. They can also do the reverse: pulling heat from inside a building and forcing it outside to cool the building. In fact, heat pumps and air conditioners work in a very similar manner, so a little understanding of one applies to the other as well.

With a heat pump, however, you won’t need separate units for heating and cooling (like with HVAC systems). This helps with your home’s efficiency, needing only one unit to do the work of two, making them even friendlier for the environment then natural gas furnaces.

The reason for this is because heat pumps don’t use energy or power to generate heat, they simply move it to where it is needed. This is how a heat pump can heat your home while being eco-friendly. By transferring existing heat to where it is needed instead of making additional heat, less coal and oil needs to be burned to generate heat for your home, protecting our planet and its limited fossil fuel resources.

These units work best in moderate climates, though. If you live in an area that experiences extremes in the highs and low temperatures of each season, they may not be your best bet. But in climates where the temps are milder year round, a heat pump can save you money over the traditional HVAC units you see installed on homes and businesses.

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