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Serving the Greater Albuquerque Area

HVAC FAQ: What’s a Heat Pump?

heat-pump-outdoor-unitHVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) and the industry that surrounds it contains a lot of terminology that, frankly, no average homeowner needs to know. Still, there’s one term we think people in most parts of the U.S., especially those in warmer climates, should know: heat pump.

While it may sound like a “heat pump” would be a heating system, this is only half true. A heat pump is primarily an air conditioner, but it has the ability to heat a home as well. This heating and cooling all-in-one system is ideal for New Mexico residents and is capable of keeping you comfortable efficiently all year long.

What It Looks Like

A heat pump looks a lot like a standard air conditioning system because, aside from a few additional components, it is! Right outside of your home, an outdoor unit contains a large fan, a compressor, and a coil. Inside of your home, an air handler contains a blower fan and another coil. A refrigerant line runs between the two units, and there are, of course, a lot of electrical components as well. The indoor fan blows cool or warm air throughout the ducts in your home.

Heat pumps are also available without the need for ducts! Ductless units provide heating and cooling from an indoor air handler mounted directly on the wall. You can have multiple ductless blower units throughout the home, each connected to the outdoor system via a refrigerant line. Each gets its own thermostat as well!

How It Works

Explaining all of the intricacies of a heat pump would take some time, but you only need to know that basics. A heat pump uses electricity as its fuel source and refrigerant as a way to exchange heat.

In air conditioning mode, the heat pump works just like a standard central AC. As part of a thermodynamic process, heat is absorbed from the air in a home and moved to the outdoors, cooling off the coil inside of the home. In heating mode, valves allow the process to reverse. Heat can now be absorbed from the outdoor air and brought in doors, as long as temperatures have not dropped below freezing. At that point, electric heating strips may need to kick in.

What Makes Heat Pumps Preferable

A heat pump is a great choice for homeowners in most climates. In the coldest climates, in fact, it can be combined with a gas furnace to create a highly efficient dual fuel system.

First of all, it’s nice to have only one system to worry about maintaining and replacing. However, the main reason to choose a heat pump is efficiently. Generating heat, producing it using energy or fuel alone, is a process that requires a lot of energy. Furnaces can cost a lot to run, particularly when you have an electric furnace.

A heat pump moves heat instead of generating it. The process of moving heat requires a lot less energy, so you should notice a difference in energy efficiency. That translates to monthly savings!

Contact Axiom Home Services, Inc. to learn more about heat pumps in North Valley, NM.

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