Heat Pumps in Baldwin County AL: What You Should Know About Efficiency Terms and Components

Published on: July 20, 2012

Baldwin County, AL, as well as most of the Southern United States, is well-known for having some of the most difficult and unpredictable weather around the country. Not only does this weather cause extreme reactions by those who must experience it, but it causes extreme reactions by conditioning units as well.


The most extreme weather conditions can cause a need for expensive AC service calls if the heat pump installation of a unit is not done correctly. Also, after any heat pump installation, AC service should be done on a routine basis to ensure the continued operation of the heat pump. Weather conditions that are unpredictable and severe, such as the ones that often hit Baldwin County, AL, require constant maintenance over the air conditioning unit.


However, before any AC service, you must familiarize yourself with the lingo that technicians will use. Although they will be performing the technical aspects of an AC service, you should know the basics so that you do not get overcharged or mislead during a heat pump installation or routine AC service.

Below are some things that you should know about heat pumps and air conditioners in general.


1. A heat pump installation or service is not part of a routine AC service.

In places with extreme weather conditions, you must specify that you want your heat pump to be checked and assessed. This should be done after the initial heat pump installation and on a regular basis thereafter.


2. Although heat pumps are much simpler in design than HVAC systems, all the components should still be accounted for.

There are four major components to every heat pump system that must be taken care of and they are listed below:

Compressor – This is perhaps the most important part of any heat pump system. The compressor finalizes the energy so that it will be powerful enough to condition the air in your living space.

Coils – Coils in a heat pump disburse and absorb heat from the air in order to condition it.

Expansion valve – The expansion valve serves to decompress the energy that is compressed by the compressor. This is the final step toward creating energy that can actually be used to condition air in a living space.

Refrigerant – The refrigerant is the lifeblood of the system. This is the material that the coils pump through the heat pump to be compressed and expanded by the compressor and the expansion valve respectfully.


3. You must also know about the efficiency markers that heat pumps are judged by.

Although there are far less federal regulations for the performance of heat pumps than there should be, many states actually have very stringent regulations. When you have any sort of work done by a technician on your air conditioner, make sure that the technician adheres to the standards of states such as Arizona, Arkansas, California or Florida.

Below are the different efficiency standards that you should know about for your heat pump.

The SEER efficiency standard – This acronym stands for “seasonal energy efficiency ratio” of code and is the most important efficiency scale because it is the most widely used. You should be able to mention these efficiency standards to any technician and have them know what you’re talking about. The highest rating that a heat pump can receive on this scale is a rating of 20.

The COP efficiency standard – This stands for “coefficient of performance” and is a good standard to use if you are trying to compare the efficiency of your heat pump in extreme weather conditions. This standard determines efficiency both in the cooling and in the heating modes of your heat pump.

The EER efficiency standard – The “energy efficiency ratio” of a heat pump measures the amount of heat removed divided by the amount of energy that is taken to do it. You want this ratio, obviously, to be as low as possible because that means that heating or cooling your home will cost you less money.

The HSPF efficiency standard – This acronym stands for “heating seasonal performance factor.” This is the best energy use if you are measuring the efficiency of your heat pump during the most trying times of extreme seasons. It is also an ideal efficiency scale to use if you are in a volatile climate such as those in the southern United States.