Heat Pumps: What You Should Know About Efficiency, Terms, and Components

Published on: June 22, 2012

A heat pump extracts heat from the ground and transfers the heat into the air in the home. A heat pump transfers heat into the house during cooler months, and transfers thermal energy in the opposite direction of the spontaneous flow of heat. Standard refrigerators and compressor-driven air conditioners are examples of simple heat pumps. However, the term “heat pump” most often refers to a heating unit that warms the air of a home or commercial space. For more information about how a heat pump can increase the energy efficiency of your home, contact a qualified AC maintenance or heat pump service professional.


Components of a Heat Pump

The heat pump contains four main components:

The CompressorThe CondenserThe Expansion ValveThe Evaporator

Bi-directional heat pumps are able to pump heat in both directions. Two additional components are included with a bi-directional air source heat pump:

A 4-Way Reversing ValveA Bi-Directional Expansion Valve

With a bi-directional heat pump, the unit is able to pump heated and cooled air.

The Energy Efficient Heat Pump

Heat pumps are generally used because they provide heat while using “low entropy” energy. This means that less high-grade energy is required to operate the heat pump device. The energy savings is significant when compared to standard electric furnaces that are required to utilize all energy used to operate the device into heat energy in order to heat the home or building.

The heat pump is more energy efficient than the traditional electric furnace because the heat pump uses about 1/3 of the energy required by a traditional electric heater to produce 100% of the heat. With traditional electric heating units, 100% of the energy to run the device is required to produce 100% of the heat for the space. A qualified AC maintenance and service company can provide you with an assessment regarding the type of heat pump that will best work for your application.

Heat pumps require less maintenance than propane and other older furnace systems. Fewer service visits will be required than with a standard furnace, saving you money over the life of the unit. AC maintenance professionals will be able to provide you with an estimate of the cost savings over time of installing a heat pump in your home.

Newer More Energy Efficient Heat Pumps

Newer heat pumps are even more energy efficient than heat pumps purchased a decade ago. When you are ready to purchase a new, more energy efficient heat pump, a heat pump service technician will be able to assist you with your choice. In addition to purchasing a more energy efficient model, be sure that you have the unit installed by a qualified heat pump service provider. Newer, high-efficiency heat pumps can potentially lower your energy bills by as much as 30% to 40%. Many AC maintenance and service companies provide heat pump service and installations as well, making life easier for you.

In addition to the increased efficiency, newer heat pumps also provide better indoor air quality. A newer, energy efficient heat pump will ensure that the air inside your home is healthy and free of contaminants and pollutants. If you have questions about the quality of the air inside your home, an AC maintenance company can provide you with an assessment of your home’s indoor air quality.

To ensure that you get the most from your energy efficient heat pump, make sure to use a qualified AC maintenance or heat pump service company for the installation and service of the unit. Investing in a newer, energy efficient heat pump can be expensive, but many AC service companies will assist you in obtaining low-interest loans to finance your heat pump. Call us to find out more about how a newer, energy efficient heat pump can save you money, improve your home’s indoor air quality and increase the value of your home.