Heat Pumps - Reviews, Prices and More!
Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Heat Pumps
(But Were Afraid To Ask)
What is a heat pump?
Heat pumps are devices - they can either use a chemical substance or mechanical device to heat and/or air-condition a building.
Heat pumps that are used as a heating device takes heat from a low-temperature source and expels it somewhere else in the building, raising the temperature.
Heat pumps can also be used to cool -- and the most familiar example of one is right in everyone's home: a refrigerator. It contains machinery that cools (removes heat) from the interior of the refrigerator, thereby keeping the food stored inside cool.
Some other examples of heat pumps: furnaces (some types), air conditioners, water heaters - there are even swimming pool heat pumps!
Some heat pumps are called air-source heat pumps, so called because they exploit the differential (difference) between the temperature of the air outdoors and the air temperature indoors. These heat pumps can be used to either heat or cool a building.
When used as a water-heating device, a heat pump operates exactly the opposite of a refrigerator. A refrigerator pulls the heat out, a heat pump that uses air as it's heating source puts heat in - it takes it from the air surrounding the unit. Therefore, it will have a tendency to cool the air that surrounds it. These types of water heaters should be installed in an area that tends to remain hot, or at least warm - such as an often-used laundry room or next to the furnace (especially if the furnace is located in its own separate area).
Geothermal heat pumps (sometimes called ground source heat pumps) use a different source - not the air outside but the temperature of the earth itself (this is the 'ground' or 'geothermal' aspect). They can be used for heating, air conditioning and even to provide hot water, in some circumstances. They are very efficient and reliable.
What about costs? Generally, heat pumps cost more to purchase and install than more conventional equipment, but the consumer will realize great cost savings in monthly heating/cooling utility bills.
When purchasing a new heat pump the consumer should look, not only at features of the various heat pump models, but also consider what size they will need (larger models can heat/cool larger areas - but are also more expensive).
Since this is a newer form of technology, it is vital that when installing a heat pump, that the services of a qualified, trained professional be secured. This should be someone who is trained and certified to install the kind of equipment that you have selected.
In the early days, heat pumps were somewhat unreliable and even noisy when they operated. Today's heat pumps incorporate cutting-edge technology that results in a more reliable, efficient and quiet product. Many problems with heating and cooling devices are simple to fix (such as a tripped circuit breaker or a bad thermostat), others are more complex - so if you have any trouble with your unit, be sure to contact a professional who specializes in heat pumps (the person or company who originally installed your equipment is the ideal first choice).
Need more information? Various state and federal agencies provide reliable, up-to-date and unbiased information on the various models and types of heat pumps available.