Understanding Heat Pumps: Efficient Year-Round Heating and Cooling

hwo geothermal heat pumps work

Heat pumps are one of the most popular up-and-coming technologies in the HVAC industry—and for good reason: homeowners and business owners love the year-round cost savings of these energy efficient heating and cooling solutions.

We say “up and coming” even though heat pumps have been around for a while because this HVAC technology has enjoyed some impressive improvements during recent years. It used to be that a heat pump wouldn’t be reliable in very cold temperatures (like we experience here in Windsor during the winter). This, however, has changed—heat pumps can now work quite effectively even in temperatures that dip below 20 degrees.

Another reason you’re likely to see more and more heat pumps in the coming years is the cost of installation. Thanks once again to advancements in technology, the cost of a heat pump installation has been slowly but surely dropping over the past ten or so years.

Finally, it’s important to note that heat pumps aren’t just friendly to your wallet: these units are also more environmentally friendly than many traditional HVAC systems. Here in Colorado, we pride ourselves on being environmentally conscious, so we’ve noticed a trend of heat pump installation, particularly among businesses who want to show their customers that they’re dedicated to sustainability.

How Does a Heat Pump Work?

how a heat pump works

The methodology of a heat pump is actually really interesting. Unfortunately because of the name, people tend to mistakenly think that these units are for heating only—in fact, heat pumps can both heat and cool a home.

In a nutshell, a heat pump works by pumping heat from the outside to the inside, or vice versa. It’s sort of like an air conditioner that can work in reverse. During the cold months when you want to increase the temperature in your home, the heat pump is working to remove heat from the air outside and bring it indoors to you. During the summertime when it’s hot outside, the heat pump does the opposite: like an air conditioner, it absorbs the heat inside your home and pumps it outside, which cools things down indoors.

Compare this to how a furnace works, which is heat by combustion. Now, don’t get us wrong—we think furnace heating is great and that’s another technology that slowly-but-surely enjoys advancements and improvements as time goes on as well. The key is to pick the style of heating and cooling that works for your unique needs. In fact, some degree of customization is a fairly important part of selecting the right heat pump for your home. Let’s explore that for a moment.

The Size of Your Heat Pump & Why it Affects Performance

heat pump geothermal energy

Before you install a heat pump, the first consideration is usually figuring out how big the pump itself needs to be. Smaller heat pumps work for homes with smaller square footage, and larger heat pumps work better in homes with larger square footage. It sounds obvious, of course, but selecting the correct size of heat pump will have a considerable impact on your energy efficiency (or lack thereof, in the case of an incorrectly sized heat pump) as well as the performance of the heating and cooling.

It’s easy to understand why a small heat pump wouldn’t be ideal for a larger home. But what about the opposite—for example, you might think bigger is better—so why not just install a large heat pump in a smaller home? Won’t that mean it’ll just work better? Actually, no, and here’s why: the pump will be cycling (turning on and off) much more frequently, meaning that your energy expenses will go way up, which more or less defeats the purpose of a heat pump in the first place. Furthermore, heating and cooling might be unevenly distributed throughout the home, with some areas being overly hot or cold, and no amount of air balancing would be able to fix it.

The Bottom Line About Heat Pumps in Northern Colorado

Ultimately, the point is that heat pumps are very efficient, affordable, and a great solution for anyone in northern Colorado, but you must select the right one for your particular house or business. Here at Best Buy Heating and Air we would, of course, be more than happy to help you discover exactly the kind of heat pump you need for your home. If you’d like to learn more about heat pumps, please visit our page about geothermal energy.

Please feel free to send us an email or give us a call at (970) 218-0414 if you’re interested in learning more about this wonderful HVAC technology. We look forward to serving you!

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