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Gowland's Heating & A/C Blog

Can a Heat Pump Handle Our Summers and Winters?

heat-pump

Heat pumps offer several major benefits as home comfort systems, but the biggest one is that heat pumps operate as both air conditioners and heaters. They aren’t two systems packaged into one: they use the same set of components to deliver heating or cooling to a house. 

The easiest way to think of how a heat pump works is to visualize a standard central air conditioner. An AC circulates refrigerant between two sets of coils, indoors and outdoors. The indoor coil removes heat from the air, cooling it, and then the outdoor coil releases the heat. A heat pump works the same way—it’s a refrigerant-based system and from the outside looks identical to a central AC—except it can reverse the flow of refrigerant, and this causes the two coils to swap roles. Now the exterior coil absorbs heat and the indoor coil releases it. Presto! An AC becomes a heater.

But here’s the big question: is this system enough to handle our weather? Is a heat pump installation in Kenner, LA a viable choice for you?

The Cooling Is Just What You Need

We’ll first address the cooling capacity of a heat pump: it’s no different than a central air conditioner of equal size. A heat pump doesn’t “sacrifice” any of its cooling power because it also works as a heating system. If your house previously used an air conditioning system with 6 tons of cooling capacity, a heat pump with the same capacity will do the job just as well. (And, since it’s a new unit, it may do the job better!) As long as you have professionals like ours to accurately size the heat pump for your house, you’ll have no trouble handling our local summer heat.

The Heating Is Probably Right for You as Well

The heating side of a heat pump is what causes people the most concern. You may have already noticed something questionable when we described above how a heat pump operates: it draws heat from outside the house and moves it inside. But because a heat pump will only need to operate in heating mode when it’s cold outside, where does it get the heat?

First, there’s always some heat energy in the air, no matter how cold it is. Absolute zero is the temperature where there’s no heat at all in the air, and this is a hypothetical temperature. (To lower something to absolute zero, the heat needs to move to a colder area, and there isn’t anything colder.) 

Second, even though there’s heat available no matter how chilly it gets outside, heat pumps can lose energy efficiency when the temperature goes below freezing. The heat pump will still be able to supply heat, but it will have to work harder. The good news is that our winter temperatures rarely get that cold—so you can expect a heat pump to supply you with energy-efficient heating throughout the winter. In fact, heat pumps consume far less electricity than electric furnaces do.

Gowland’s Heating & A/C Values “Relationship over Revenue!” Call us today to learn more about heat pumps and find out if a heat pump installation is ideal for your house.

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