How Do Heat Pumps Work? Benefits of Installation, Maintenance, & Savings on Repair

The winters in New Albany are cold, wet, and cloudy. To keep you and your family warm and comfortable, your HVAC system is working overtime from November to March. If you’re running your system around the clock, and your utility bills keep climbing, you might be ready for a heat pump.

Heat pumps are some of the most energy-efficient HVAC systems on the market. They can also be added on to the system you already have to keep your temperatures comfortable and your utility bills manageable. If you’re looking for heat pump repair or installation, look no further. Allegiance Heating and Air Conditioning is here to help.

What is a Heat Pump?

In the simplest terms, a heat pump is an all in one heating and air conditioning system that works year-round. It uses the outside air to both heat a home in winter and cool it in summer. On a more technical level, a heat pump uses a mechanical-compression cycle refrigeration system that can be reversed throughout the year to either heat or cool a controlled space.

A heat pump consists of two main components: an indoor air handler and an outdoor unit, similar to a central air conditioner. The outdoor unit contains a compressor that circulates refrigerant that absorbs and releases heat as it travels between the indoor and outdoor units.

How Does a Heat Pump Work?

The main difference between a traditional HVAC system and a heat pump is how they create heat. A heat pump uses electricity to move heat from one place to another. A furnace burns fuel to create heat.

Heat pumps constantly move warm air from one place to another – to where it’s needed or not needed, depending on the season. Even in the chilliest of New Albany winters, there is heat energy present in the outdoor air.

Without proper heat pump repair, your cycle won't work correctly on your New Albany home.

When it’s cold outside, a heat pump extracts what outside heat is available and transfers it back indoors. When it’s warm outside, it reverses directions and acts like an air conditioner, removing heat from your home and pushing it back outside.

Heat pumps work best where moderate climates are present, as supplemental heating sources may be needed in areas with lower temperatures. As we mentioned earlier, heat pumps can make great add-ons to your existing home heating system, for year-round comfort.

With this dual-fuel system option, the two systems would share the heating load but never function at the same time. Each system operates when it is most cost-effective, as the heat pump would serve as the primary heating and cooling system. When the temperature drops below the heat pump’s ability to operate efficiently, the gas furnace will take over until the temperature rises again.

No matter where you live, a heat pump will give you more bang for your buck by utilizing electricity to move air around before utilizing a fuel-dependent HVAC system. Heat pumps can also work in conjunction with your pre-existing HVAC system to reduce utility bills as well. To see if a heat pump is the right choice for you, contact us today.

Two-Stage VS Single-Stage Heating

Heat pumps operate on two-stage heating. Understanding the difference between two-stage and single-stage heating will help improve understanding of how a heat pump operates.

Single-Stage Heating: With conventional, single-stage heating your system is either on or off. There’s no other option. There is a fixed gas valve and a single-speed blower. No matter what the temperature outside, single-stage heating systems work at the same speed. This doesn’t allow as much energy efficiency as a two-stage heating system.

Two-Stage Heating: With two-stage heating, there is a variable-speed blower motor. The benefit of two-stage heating is that your heat pump can run at a lower setting in milder weather and a higher setting when it gets really cold outside. Two-stage heating systems can run for longer periods of time, provide less noise, and allows even heat distribution throughout your home.

Repair and Maintenance: Why it Matters to Work With a Professional

Maintenance of any home’s heating system is critical for energy efficiency and saving money. Heat pump repair is important to keep your utility bills low and keep your system running smoothly.

Heat pump systems typically have lower maintenance needs because the system is designed to be efficient. As we stated, these systems operate on two-stage heating, and without proper maintenance and heat pump repair, you could see your utility bills increase dramatically.

If your heat pump goes out, your air handler comes on and functions in overtime to produce heat, which in turn, is way more expensive to run your system. As a homeowner, you would have no idea heat pump repair was needed because your system would still be producing heat.

However, once you receive your utility bill, you would notice a huge increase, because your system has unknowingly been working harder to heat your home. In turn, when you need heat pump repair, it’s best to call a local, trusted, and licensed professional in your area to check on your heat pump and complete any necessary heat pump repairs.

We recommend serving your system with HVAC maintenance on a regular basis, to avoid heat pump repair down the road. Lucky for you, we’re here for both occurrences, as we offer a maintenance service club, as well as 24-hour emergency service, even on weekends and holidays. Never hesitate to contact us should you need heat pump repair!

Water Source Heat Pumps

A home on a lake in New Albany.

Heat pumps offer some of the highest efficiencies in the HVAC industry. Specifically, water source heat pumps (WSHP) can dramatically reduce energy costs for homes in New Albany.

At Allegiance, we are a strong advocate for water source heat pumps. While it is certainly not a type of comfort system that will be available to everyone, if you live in an area close to a well, lake, or another natural water source, it is definitely an option worth considering and provides a wide range of benefits:

  • Individual Zoning: One of the biggest benefits of WSHP is individual zoning. A WSHP system is created with multiple units in individual zones. This allows the system to take the heat out of an area that is rejecting it and use it in another area that is demanding it. The WSHP units can be placed in dropped ceilings or hidden away from occupied spaces in mechanical rooms or utility closets rather than requiring the space of a traditional air course unit.
  • Simultaneous Heating and Cooling: Because the simplistic system can be reversed, water source heat pumps are well-suited to both cooling and heating throughout the year when necessary. In fact, depending on the orientation of the building and demands, it is common for one system to simultaneously heat and cool different areas at the same time. WSHPs can take the heat out of an area that is rejecting it and use it in another area that is demanding it. Energy recovery and transport is an area where WSHPs truly excel.
  • Reliability: Because each unit in a WSHP system is an independent, packaged system, it eliminates the chance of a total system failure. This makes it ideal for offices, apartments, hotels, and schools because if one unit in one area goes down, the other units are not affected.
  • Simple Service: Water source heat pumps are simple to service as a residential HVAC system.
  • Longevity: Because they aren’t working as hard as traditional HVAC systems, they have a very long life, often lasting as long as 20 years.
  • Efficiency: One of the biggest advantages is that thermal energy is economical and efficient. WSHPs also offer some of the highest efficiencies in the HVAC industry. The closed-loop water-source heat is economically efficiently and safely transported to wherever it can be used.
  • Energy Savings: Using the heat naturally available in water and air, reduces the energy required to produce heat from fuel. The ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers), sets the minimum efficiency requirements for WSHPs to be higher than traditional air-cooled heat pumps by almost double. For a typical building, this reduces energy costs by about 80 percent.
  • Quiet HVAC Operation: Water source heat pumps are quieter and have a longer lifetime than other HVAC systems. Because the system is so simple, there’s not a lot of operational noise.
  • Simple Installation: The system itself is assembled in a factory and tested before delivery. They are installed in a duct system with two pipes, a supply, and return. They can also be added to condos, commercial buildings, and shopping centers with minimal disruption to tenants or customers.
  • Quick Financial Payback: The installation of a water source is simple and typically you’ll make your money back in less than five years for residential properties and 10 years for larger commercial properties in New Albany.
  • Safety: Water is nonflammable, nontoxic, and has a high specific heat value, which makes it an ideal way to transport energy. It is safe and effective without any of the negative consequences of natural gas or refrigerant.

Other Types of Heat Pumps

For those near New Albany with moderate heating and cooling needs, heat pumps offer an energy-efficient alternative to furnaces and air conditioners. Water source heat pumps require a nearby water source, but there are other heat pump options that are available even without a pond, well, or lake nearby. The three main types of heat pumps include:

  • Air Source: This is the most commonly used type of pump. The air source heat pump refrigerant uses a compressor and two coils of copper tubing (one inside, one outside). In the winter months, the liquid refrigerant extracts heat from the air and evaporates into a gas, releasing it into the home. In the summer months, the refrigerant flow reverses and blows cool air into the home.
  • Water Source: The water source pump is what we’ve recently discussed. This type of heat pump uses a nearby water source to pull heat from the water or air and transfers it where it’s needed. A water source heat pump is often quieter and carries a smaller eco-friendly footprint, since water is more efficient at carrying away heat than air.
  • Geothermal: Also known as a ground-source unit, this type of system uses heat that is underneath the ground. These are quieter, last longer, need less maintenance, and do not depend on outside air temperature.

Most heat pump systems will use your existing ductwork. However, for homes in New Albany without ductwork, mini-split or ductless heat pumps are very popular options.

  • Mini-Split-System: For room additions, or homes without ductwork, mini-splits bring the benefits of an air pump to a small area. They are small and easy to work within any space. Each unit, or room, has its own thermostat controls, allowing you to heat and cool rooms separately. Each zone is connected to a single outdoor unit.

In addition, at Allegiance, we offer heat pump repair on all makes and models of these systems. Just contact us today for more information or if you need service on your home’s system!

Cost and Efficiency of Your System

A number of factors, from your climate to existing ductwork, will influence whether or not a heat pump system is right for your home. Investing in a heat pump is extremely worth it. A highly-efficient model could save you 30% to 40% on your energy bill and a water-source model could save you even more.

Heat pump repair in New Albany.

The cost of a heat pump depends on the type of system you choose for your home, and the costs of labor, equipment, installation, and any warranties included. Contact us today to learn more about the best option for your home.

Working With a Local Professional

Allegiance Heating and Air Conditioning offers 24-hour emergency service, even on weekends and holidays. We’re here around the clock for heat pump repair, as well as regular HVAC system repair and maintenance.

Although we’re based in Greenville, Indiana, we’re proud to serve the following areas: New Albany, Jeffersonville, Sellersburg, Clarksville, Floyds Knobs, Georgetown, Palmyra, Lanesville, and Corydon. We’re also honored to provide service to those in Louisville, KY.

Contact us today for more information about our heat pump options and finding the best choice for your home.

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