Texas summers are blazing hot, but our winters are usually very mild. Accordingly, homeowners in the area tend to focus far more on their air conditioners than their heating systems. It also explains why heat pumps are so popular in our part of the world: devices that use the principles of air conditioning to both heat and cool your home. If you think a heat pump might be a good addition for your home, or if you have an existing heat pump that needs repairs, you might be curious as to how it works and why it makes such a good option for this part of the world.
Like an Air Conditioner, but with a Twist
In essence, heat pumps differ very little from traditional air conditioners. Refrigerant cycles through a series of valves and coils that shift it from gaseous to liquid form and back. Gaseous refrigerant first enters a compressor array that shifts it to liquid form and places it under a great deal of pressure. That process bleeds heat from the refrigerant, which is then vented outside the home. The pressurized refrigerant then enters a series of coils, where it expands back into gaseous form and pulls heat from the nearby air in the process.
Heat pumps function the same way the air conditioners do in the summer. In the winter, they essentially reverse the above process: cooling the air outside the home and releasing heat inside the home. The process is usually easily achieved simply by flipping a switch. That lets you dispense with the notion of multiple separate units to heat and cool your home. It also comes with a number of additional benefits to your home: namely the cost of running it.
Refrigerant Is Renewable
Refrigerant isn’t consumed during this process, the way natural gas or other forms of fuel are. While it can leak is a problem occurs with the system, it isn’t expended as it moves through the system. That means that the heat it generates costs much less than heat generated by other types of fuel: reducing your winter heating bills a great deal. Heat pumps work best when the temperature stays above 40 degrees, and for those nights when things get cooler, a smaller second heating system can be used to augment it. Even then, however, you can enjoy considerable savings, and newer models of heat pumps are far more efficient than older models of heat pumps.
Heat pumps work well in any home, but they especially benefit those with limited space such as vacation homes, and those with good insulation and similar energy efficiency features. With proper servicing, they can last a long time, and because they run on principles similar to air conditioning they’re just as easy to operate as a more traditional air conditioning system.