As winter approaches, many homeowners often wonder: how does a heat pump work in the winter? How does a heat pump transfer heat from the outside to the inside of your home? Can a heat pump provide all of the heat you need to stay warm all season? A Perfect Climate Heating & Cooling explains how heat pumps function as heating systems and when a backup heat source may be necessary.
A heat pump is a device that uses a small amount of energy to move heat from one place to another. The most common type of heat pump is an air source heat pump, which moves heat between the air inside your home and the air outside. Heat pumps are very efficient and can provide heating and cooling for your home at a fraction of the cost of traditional systems.
In the winter, a heat pump extracts heat from the air outside and transfers it into your home. This is the reverse process of how it provides cooling in the summer. During the cooling season, the heat pump moves heat from your home to the air outside.
The process begins with the outdoor unit collecting heat from the air and using a refrigerant to absorb the heat. Even when it feels quite cold outside, there is still heat energy present in the air that can be used. This refrigerant then flows through the outdoor coil and the compressor before traveling into the indoor unit. The indoor unit’s coil then transfers the heat to the air circulating through your HVAC system, providing a warm and comfortable environment inside your home.
For a heat pump to work in the winter, it requires some heat present in the air outside. When outdoor temperatures are milder, there is plenty of heat energy available to heat your home. However, some heat pumps do struggle to provide sufficient indoor heating when outdoor temperatures dip below 40 degrees. In these situations, having an auxiliary or backup heat source is helpful.
A popular choice is an electric heating coil. These coils are installed in the heat pump and work by passing electricity through a metal coil. The resulting heat is then distributed throughout your home using the existing ductwork. While electric heating coils can boost the temperature indoors when the heat pump struggles, they use more electricity than the heat pump does and therefore cost more to operate.
Another option is a gas furnace. Gas furnaces can be installed alongside a heat pump, and the system will take over when it senses gas heat will be more energy efficient than heat pump operation. Compared to electric heating coils, a backup gas furnace is more efficient and tends to cost less to operate.
A heat pump is a great way to keep your home warm during the winter. If you’re considering purchasing one for your home, A Perfect Climate Heating & Cooling will explain how a heat pump works in the winter as well as your options for backup heating. Contact us today for an estimate. We install heat pumps throughout the Indianapolis area and can help you find the perfect unit for your needs.