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All about Heat Pumps - Heating and Cooling in One
Heat pumps heat and cool your home in one extra efficient home comfort system.
A heat pump is a mechanical-compression cycle refrigeration system that uses electricity and a refrigerant to pump or move heat from one location to another. In cooler temperatures, a heat pump extracts heat energy from the outside of your home and transfers it inside. (Counter- intuitive but true!) In hotter temperatures, a heat pump works the opposite way just like an air conditioner, removing heat energy from inside your home and transferring it outside.
Heat pumps are an energy-efficient and cost-effective option for Whatcom and Skagit county homeowners.
Compared to a fossil fuel or electric furnace, a heat pump can put out between 300 percent and 400 percent as much heat energy as they create. They use on average 45 percent less energy to heat your home than conventional electric or gas heating systems. Using a heat pump in Washington state for your home heating needs can result in an average savings of $200-$250 per year. The savings is projected to continue growing as natural gas and propane prices continue to rise. Lastly, heat pumps continue to reduce your home's carbon footprint with use of low-global-warming-impact refrigerants.
A single electric heat pump system can take the place of both an air conditioner and a gas furnace. In the summer, when your home heat pump extracts hot air from the inside of your house, you get all the benefits of an air conditioner without an added system. In the winter, your heat pump acts in the place of the furnace to heat your home. While a furnace burns fuel to create heat, the heat pump uses an energy-efficient refrigeration system to pull heat energy into your home from outside.
There are three main types of heat pumps; air-source, ground-source and water-source heat pumps.
A central air-source heat pump system looks and operates much like an AC unit. The air-source system extracts heat from outdoor air and transfers it to your home. It can be run in reverse in warmer months to extract heat from indoor air and transfer it out of your home. Air-source systems can be ductless and are often called mini-split heat pumps or ductless heat pumps. Air-source heat pump installation can be quick and easy, with a unit hung on an exterior wall. As they don’t use a duct system, they consume very little energy and can quickly warm or cool spaces on demand.
A ground-source or geothermal heat pump works similarly to air source heat pumps, but extracts energy from the earth instead using a series of ground buried pipes. These systems are even more efficient than an air-source system. Ground source heat pumps do provide heating as well as cooling, but work best for heating your home.
A water-source heat pump is a great solution if you have a body of water close to your home or on your property. Water source heat pumps extract heat energy from the water by pumping the water directly from the source through the heat pump. This style of pumps provides a more constant temperature than air-source systems and are easier to install than ground-source systems.