It’s a good question, but the answer depends entirely on the climate in which you live. Heat pumps are a unique form of heating system, with their own advantages and operation prerequisites. They can certainly serve a home well during winter (why install a heating system that can’t heat during the coldest time of year?) but there are a couple of things about which you should be aware. Let’s take a look at the inner workings of a heat pump, and what it can do for you.
How Heat Pumps Work
A heat pump has two main components, an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. Each unit contains a coil, and is connected by a refrigerant line that runs between them. As the names suggest, the indoor unit is installed inside the house, while the outdoor unit can be installed up to 100ft away.
When the heat is turned on, the outdoor unit uses the coil inside it to evaporate refrigerant into gas. This process leeches heat from the air surrounding the unit into the coil. The gaseous refrigerant is then pumped inside to the indoor unit, which condenses it back into a liquid state. This releases the thermal energy from the refrigerant, where it can be used to heat the home.
This kind of heating has a lot of advantages. It’s energy efficient, safer than combustion systems, and pays for itself in savings on your heating bill. However, there is one big thing you need to think about before installing one:
As discussed above, heat pumps rely entirely on the surrounding air to provide thermal energy. This is a good thing in some ways, because it allows the heat pump to work without wasting resources on combustion like many heating systems do. Unfortunately, it also means that very cold climates can severely hamper a heat pump’s effectiveness. The colder the air, the less thermal energy will be available for the heat pump to use. This is only a real issue in areas that routinely sink under 0 degrees Fahrenheit. In those areas, however, you might want to consult a professional to see if having a heat pump would be worth it.