To keep their home at a comfortable temperature, many homeowners use an air conditioner in summer, then switch to a furnace as cold weather rolls around in the wintertime. A heat pump simplifies matters considerably, since the same unit can heat your house in the wintertime and cool it in summer.
Unlike a furnace, which essentially burns fuel to create heat, a heat pump moves heat from one location to another using a refrigerant. Most heat pumps use what is called a split system, including:
- An outdoor unit, which includes a compressor and a heat exchanger coil
- An indoor unit, which includes another heat exchanger coil, electric heating elements, and a fan to blow air through your ductwork
- Two copper tubes that connect the two units. The tubes contain the refrigerant that transfers heat from one unit to the other.
The refrigerant has the ability to absorb heat from the air during even the coldest weather, allowing the heat pump to keep your house at the desired temperature regardless of the season. Here’s how it works:
- In summer, warm air from inside your house is blown across the indoor heat exchanger coil. The refrigerant absorbs heat from the air and the fan redistributes the cooled-down air back into your home.
- In winter, the process is reversed. Outdoor air is drawn across the outdoor coil, then the refrigerant absorbs heat from the air. The heat is used to warm up the indoor air, which is drawn across the indoor coil and then through your duct system.
Because of our climate in Western North Carolina, a heat pump sometimes needs a little help from a furnace, heater or some other heat source on particularly cold winter days. But in summer, a heat pump can effectively replace your current air conditioning unit.
For more information on heat pumps, and to help you decide if one is right for your Asheville area home, contact Smoky Mountain Heating & Air.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about heat pumps and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Smoky Mountain Heating & Air services Asheville, North Carolina and the surrounding areas. Visit our website to see our special offers and get started today!