How Does a Heat Pump Work During Winter Months

In the Inland Northwest, having a warm home during the winter is important for being comfortable and happy. For many of us, as long as the heater is working, we hardly think about it. And we shouldn’t have to, especially when our heating systems are reliable and efficient. A heat pump can supply an additional cost-effective heating and cooling solution that works year-round.

However, when things start to break down, we start to wonder about which of the components is broken or worn out. Is it an older thermostat that needs replacing? Is it the gauges? Did I remember to change the filter?

One of the items that could be the problem is the heat pump. But you’re probably wondering, what’s a heat pump and how does it work? How does a heat pump work during the winter? How does it work during the summer? Get the answers to all of your heat pump questions below!

What Is A Heat Pump?

A heat pump is a major component of your home’s heating system that’s installed outside of your home. A heat pump takes warm and hot air and pumps it in or out of your home. Hence the name.

This process works year-round and both can cool your home and warm it up throughout the changing seasons. Many homeowners love heat pumps for this reason. They effectively only have to purchase a single system instead of both an air conditioner and a furnace. This solution works best in calm, mild climates where the temperature rarely hits the freezing point.

However, in cold areas like North Idaho, many homeowners attach an electric heat strip to the indoor fan coils to make it even stronger. They also often pair their heat pump system with a furnace. When it’s too cold for the heat pump to pull heat from the air outside, the furnace takes on the work. Pairing a furnace and a heat pump system to share the workload is called a dual-fuel system or hybrid heating systems. While it’s not as inexpensive upfront as only paying for just a heat pump, it’s still very cost-effective in the long run.

Heat pumps utilize refrigerant and electricity to function. Since they don’t require fossil fuels, heat pumps are gaining popularity for being environmentally friendly. If paired with a natural gas furnace, this is no longer the case.

How Does A Heat Pump Work During the Summer?

Heat pumps are very similar to an air conditioning system in the sense it can help cool off your home in the summer. However, an air conditioner works to cool the air. A heat pump pulls the hot air in your home and pumps it outside.

How Does A Heat Pump Work During the Winter?

During the winter, your heat pump does the opposite. Once the temperature drops, your heat pump takes the heat from outside and the refrigerant absorbs it. Then it’s warmed up and pushed into your home.

As we said above, you may have a dual-fuel system or hybrid. So when the air outside gets too cold for the heat pump to pull from, your furnace will likely kick in and pick up the slack.

Types of Heat Pumps

There are actually two types of heat pumps. These include air-source heat pumps and ground-source heat pumps.

Air-source heat pumps

Air-source heat pumps are the most popular type of heat pumps for residential homeowners. These pump warm air into and out of the home.

Ground-source heat pumps

Ground-source heat pumps are sometimes known as geothermal heat pumps. This type of heat pump takes the heat inside your home and pumps it into the ground outside, instead of the air.

This type of heat pump is more expensive to install than air-source heat pumps. That being said, ground-source heat pumps cost less over time. They’re usually more efficient than air-source heat pumps since the ground keeps a consistent temperature throughout the year.

Heat Pump Installation and Repairs

Do you live in North Idaho and need a heat pump installation or repair? J.A. Bertsch Heating & Cooling offers professional residential heat pump installation & repair services throughout Kootenai County. Our licensed heat pump technicians cover all of North Idaho and our neighboring cities. Experience superior, award-winning service 24/7 by qualified technicians by calling 1-800-Furnace.

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