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Is a Heat Pump Really Effective for Heating a Home?

If you live in Orlando, FL, your principal concern for comfort during the year is finding a way to stay cool. Heating is still necessary, but it isn’t as large a concern. This is the reason that a heat pump is such a great comfort installation: it’s a powerful air conditioner that will keep your household cool (provided you had professionals size and install it) and then switch over to an energy efficient heating mode during the shorter winter season.

HVAC professionals often field questions about the efficacy of heat pumps: Are they really decent when it comes to heating? The answer is ­yes, but an explanation comes with it.

Heat pumps in heating mode

To understand how heat pumps work as heaters, you need to first understand the general operation of heat pumps. They aren’t two systems combined in one package, but a single unit that uses the same principle to supply both heating and cooling. In air conditioning mode, a heat pump works the same as a standard AC: absorbing heat from the indoors using evaporation, then releasing the heat outdoors through condensation.

In heating mode, all that happens is the direction of heat exchange switches: heat absorbed from the outdoors then released indoors. All that’s necessary to make this switch is to change the direction that refrigerant moves through the system.

And this is where someone immediately asks, “Since I’ll only put the heat pump in heating mode during cold weather, how can it absorb heat from the outside?” The answer is that no matter how cold it may get outdoors, there is always thermal energy in the air for the refrigerant to absorb. In Florida, where winter temperatures almost never dip below freezing, a heat pump shouldn’t ever have trouble siphoning sufficient heat from outside your home to keep the inside of your home warm.

Southeast Air & Heat installs and services heat pumps. Call us today for more information.

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