What does an HVAC heat pump do?
Many people call their heat pumps central air conditioners, and they aren’t that far off. A HVAC heat pump is nearly identical to an air conditioner except that a heat pump provides both cooling and heating.
How A Heat Pump Works
An air conditioner doesn’t actually cool your home — it pulls heat out of it. To do this, it has a refrigerant line connecting the indoor blower unit and outside condenser unit. Cooling occurs as follows:
1. The refrigerant (freon) is cooled by the condenser unit.
2. The refrigerant is then pumped into the evaporator coils in the blower unit.
3. As air from your home enters the blower unit, it passes over the evaporator coils, and the heat from the air is pulled into the refrigerant line.
4. The air is sent back into the home through the ducts. Although it’s cooler, it’s because the heat was pulled out of the air not because cold was added to it.
5. The refrigerant is pumped back to the condenser to be cooled again.
A heat pump works exactly the same way in cooling mode. In heating mode, the process is reversed. Heat from the outside air is used to warm the refrigerant, and when the refrigerant is pumped inside, that heat is transferred into the air running through the blower unit.
When to Use a Heat Pump
Heat pumps are ideal for areas with hot summers and mild winters, and that makes them perfect for the Bradenton-Sarasota area. When in cooling mode, heat pumps have nearly the same efficiency as a dedicated central air conditioning unit.
In heating mode, heat pumps don’t perform as efficiently as other heating systems. Because heat pumps warm your home by pulling heat from the outside air, they quickly lose efficiency as the outdoor temperature drops. Many heat pumps also add electric heating coils to the air handler to provide supplemental heating. Usually, the cost of electric heating is far greater than the cost of oil or gas heat.
Overall, heat pumps will usually provide the greatest overall savings for a Florida home. Heating season is short, so heating efficiency loss has a minimal impact on total energy costs. Any efficiency gains from using separate heating and cooling systems would be quickly wiped away by the extra installation and maintenance costs.