Cool Climate Heat Pumps

A heat pump is an energy efficient home heating and cooling alternative.  A heat pump is essentially a central air conditioning system that is equipped to operate in reverse during the winter.  A heat pump’s efficiency is based on the fact that it moves heat from place to place rather than creating heat.  In the summer, it moves heat from inside your home to the outside and in the winter, it takes heat from outside your home and moves it inside.

It may sound counterintuitive, but a heat pump can extract heat from cold air although its efficiency suffers at temperatures below freezing.  For this reason, heat pumps have generally been considered best suited for moderate climates.

However, if you are replacing your heating or cooling system, talk to your HVAC contractor about whether a heat pump would be a good alternative for you.  Recent technological advances have made heat pumps more efficient at lower temperatures so they are suitable for more areas than in the past.

Also, heat pumps can be equipped with supplemental heating strips that improve heating ability at lower temperatures.  In addition, a heat pump can be combined with other heating methods such as a radiant floor heating system, geothermal heating system, solar heating or other alternative heating system.

Some homeowners use a heat pump to heat in the fall and spring before switching to a conventional gas or oil furnace for the coldest months.  Whether a heat pump makes sense for you will depend on your unique situation and the relative cost of electricity in your area.  A reputable HVAC contractor that handles heat pump installation and repair can help you decide if a heat pump is right for you.

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