Friday, November 9, 2012

How Does a Heat Pump Work in Winter?

Air source heat pumps can save homeowners a substantial amount of money on their winter heating costs, especially given the climate we have here in Des Peres, Wentzville, St. Peters and the rest of the St. Louis area. That’s because instead of using natural gas to produce heat, heat pumps simply move heat from the air outside into your home. So how does a heat pump work in the winter, even when the air outside is so cold?

How does a heat pump work in the winter?

When your heat pump is in the cooling mode during the summer, it uses refrigerant to absorb heat from inside your home and releases it to the air outside. That’s easy enough to understand, because there’s a lot of heat in your home to be absorbed in the summer.

During the winter, heat pumps operate like an air conditioner in reverse. The refrigerant absorbs heat from the air outside and uses it to warm your home. Believe it or not, outside air contains a certain amount of heat even in cold temperatures. In fact, most heat pumps can efficiently absorb heat from the air outside down to as cold as 20 degrees or lower!

Since heat pumps operate on a small amount of electricity, they can drastically cut down on the higher utility bills that you’d typically have when operating a natural gas furnace.

What happens if it’s too cold outside for a heat pump to work efficiently?

Although heat pumps do an amazing job at absorbing heat from the air outside, even when it’s cold out, there comes a point at which natural gas furnaces are more efficient and effective. That’s what makes hybrid heating systems such a great option for heating homes in the St. Louis area. With these units, heat pumps are used a majority of the time and a natural gas furnace is used as a backup only when necessary.

If you have any questions about how a heat pump works in the winter, or if you’d like an HVAC system serviced or installed in your home, contact Jerry Kelly, your St. Louis furnace and air conditioner repair company. We service the St. Louis area and surrounding towns like Cottleville, Creve Coeur and Ladue.

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  1. We just had a heat pump installed a couple years ago. For two winters now I've notice a smell every now and again. It's growing increasingly more common lately. It's almost like dry ice. It's a very dry, smokey smell but it doesn't smell like anything's burning. Just a very dry smell. Any ideas?

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  2. I have just installed a heat pump last year and still looking for some one to check it out because it creates so noise. I have Rinnai tankless water heater.


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  4. I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also. Very helpful information, thank you! Chris Johnson