The Alpharetta-based heating and cooling experts at Gagne discuss the efficient, versatile heat pump.

If you’re in the market for a new central heating & air system, you might be interested in learning more about heat pumps. Despite the misleading name, heat pumps are actually a versatile HVAC system that can both heat and cool your home. Here are some of the most common questions about heat pumps, answered.

How does a heat pump work?

A heat pump looks very similar to a regular central air system. There is an indoor air handling unit and an outdoor unit. But, the heat pump works very differently. It functions by moving heat energy from one place to another.

During the cooling (summer) season, a heat pump works by pulling warm air from within the house and distributing it outside, thus leaving the inside at a cooler temperature. During the winter, the process is reversed: the heat pump pulls heat energy from the outside (heat energy is always present, even if it’s cold) and transfers it into the home.

What are the advantages of a heat pump?

There are many advantages of a heat pump. Here are three that stand out:

    1. Versatility: Heat pumps can both heat and cool.
    2. Efficiency: Heat pumps are highly efficient, particularly in temperate climates. High efficiency means lowered energy costs.
    3. Dehumidification: Heat pumps are excellent at dehumidifying. According to the Department of Energy, high efficiency heat pumps are better dehumidifiers than central air conditioners. In a climate like Northern Georgia, staying cool has a lot to do with drier air! Learn more about the importance of dehumidification.

Why do heat pumps have a backup heat source?

Because heat pumps work by pulling warmth from the outside air, they sometimes are unable to effectively draw enough warmth from the outside air when temperatures become very cold. When the heat pump isn’t able to keep up with heating demands, an auxiliary heat source connected to the heat pump will automatically begin running.

Heat pumps can come with different types of backup systems; either electric coil backup, or a connection to a back up natural gas, electric, or propane furnace.  In the Atlanta area, a natural gas backup can be a good option, but talk to your Gagne heating contractor about your particular situation.

Are Heat Pumps Efficient In the Northern Georgia Climate?

Certain heat pumps can definitely have big energy efficiency payoffs in our area.  Again, efficiency will depend greatly on the type of heat pump you choose, so talk to a contractor.  Many heat pumps require the back up heat source when temperatures fall below forty degrees, which means that your heat pump would need backup on the average winter night.

If you have an efficient back up system, then heat pumps can still offer comfort and energy payoffs. And regardless of their winter performance, they can definitely accumulate lots of savings during the long summer cooling season. Read about Carrier’s Infinity heat pumps with Hybrid Heat to learn more about how their superior heat pumps balance efficiency and comfort.

If you live in Alpharetta or the surrounding area, including Chamblee, Johns Creek and Woodstock, and you’re considering a heat pump for your home’s next HVAC system, contact Gagne Heating and Air. Our exceptional team of heating technicians can help you choose the best model, size, and backup system for your situation.

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