Heat pumps have evolved over the years to become the most sensible green energy savings plan for the home owner for either cooling or heating living spaces. Heat pumps are bi-directional in that only one unit is required for it to function as a heating unit or to reverse the process and cool living spaces. This process does not deplete any natural energy resources to conduct heat; there is only a transfer of energy from one form to another. Since a heat pump can operate as both a heating and cooling unit depending on the season, there is no need to purchase separate units. This is another cost savings that should be considered when considering these systems.
The basic principle of a heat pump is rather simple and is very similar to the operation of an air conditioner. Air in one space is removed, heat is extracted and the extracted heat is moved to another space. In a heating cycle, the outside air is taken through the heat pump, heat is extracted and circulated through the home by way of air ducts. In cooling a home, air from the inside is sent through the heat pump, heat is extracted and sent outside, and the cooler air is circulated through the living spaces. Heat pumps can use air (air-air heat pumps), ground (geothermal heat pumps) or water (ground source heat pumps) as the method to transfer energy from one temperature level to another.
Heat pumps have limited use in very cold climates; therefore, it is important before investing in a heat pump to understand their limitations. In colder climates a backup heating system would be required to keep living spaces at a comfortable living temperature. There is only a limited amount of heat that can be extracted from cold air. The colder the outside air, the more energy inefficient a heat pump becomes.
As with any other appliance, a heat pump located above ground needs to be serviced regularly as it will experience normal wear from the outside environment. The same consideration should be given to a heat pump as one would a regular furnace or air conditioner. If not serviced, problems with the proper functioning will occur and any initial energy savings will be lost. If the heat pump is of a geothermal type, the whole system is underground and can last much longer without regular service. On the other hand, if a problem should occur, it is much more expensive to repair as the system would have to be dug out in order to locate the source of the problem.
Heat pumps are superior heating or cooling systems that have a place in any home just don't let it be damaged or you'll need to do heat pump troubleshooting.
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