The 3 Heat Pump Options for Your Southeast U.S. Home and How They Differ

Published on: December 18, 2013

While furnace heating systems are more popular in households in Northern states with long, cold winters, the Southeast United States enjoys a milder climate, which is ideal for energy-efficient heat pump systems. If you’re in the market for a heating and cooling system replacement, compare these popular heat pump options to see which system is best suited for your home.

Heat Pump Options

Heat pump systems provide heating and cooling by extracting, moving and releasing heat energy from one medium to another through heat-exchange coils, with one coil inside the home and the other outside (in a typical split-system heat pump). Heat pumps transfer heat energy by manipulating a refrigerant or water/ammonia solution with temperature and pressure changes.

The following heat pump options share the same principles of refrigeration, but by different means, which are versatile in design and installation:

  • Electric air-source heat pumps are the most common types of heat pumps in the Southeast U.S. Air-source heat pumps use air as the heat-exchange medium inside and outside the home. Air-source heat pumps require space for the outside cabinet, which contains the electric compressor, condenser (heat-exchange coil), fan and various components. The indoor side of the split system houses the evaporator (heat-exchange coil) and an air handler.
  • Absorption heat pumps are air-source heat pumps that use a gas-burning generator to heat a water/ammonia solution in preparation for heat exchange, rather than using an electric compressor which squeezes a refrigerant. Absorption heat pumps have traditionally been used in larger commercial applications, but residential use is growing.
  • Geothermal heat pumps are the most energy-efficient heat pumps available by using a free and stable energy source from the earth. The indoor side of a geothermal system is the same as that of an air-source heat pump, but the outside part of the system is a loop system underground, which carries a water/anti-freeze mixture. The liquid extracts heat from the ground and brings it inside for heating, and carries it outside and “rejects” it into the ground for cooling. Some geothermal systems run the loops through a body of water or well. Geothermal systems can last decades with proper maintenance.

To find out which of these heat pump options is best for your home, contact us to find a quality contractor in your area.