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Pacific Sheet Metal Blog

What Is a Heat Pump?

Posted by Joey Haack on Aug 2, 2017 9:53:00 AM | Updated on 10/13/20 10:44 AM

Do you have a heat pump or a more conventional heating and cooling system? If you're interested in learning more about what a heat pump is and how it works, you've come to the right place. If you'd like to upgrade to a more energy efficient air conditioning system, a heat pump may be the solution you've been looking for!

This blog post is part of Pacific's Heating and Cooling Series


How Heat Pumps Work

There are two main types of heat pump systems available for homeowners—air source and ground source (also known as geothermal heat pumps). They pull heat from the air or the ground outside and bring it indoors to heat the home in the winter. In the summer, the heat pump will remove the heat inside and push it outdoors to cool your space.


Air Conditioner

The air source heat pump is the most common type and consists of an indoor unit (the air handler) and an outdoor unit (the actual heat pump). It includes a compressor and a condenser, similar to a standard air conditioning system. To cool a home, warm air is pulled into the home's ductwork and pushed to the air handler, where refrigerant absorbs the heat and humidity is condensed to liquid form and drained. The cool air is then recirculated into the home to replace the warm air to lower the indoor temperature.



During the colder seasons, the refrigeration cycle is reversed to bring heat into the home from outside. Typically, if the outdoor temperature is above 30–35 degrees Fahrenheit, enough heat will be available to extract from the air and bring it inside to heat the home. The warm air is pushed into the ductwork and throughout the home to raise the indoor temperature.

For colder climates, you may need a backup heater to kick in when the temperatures fall below 30–35 degrees. You could opt instead for a geothermal heat pump system, which draws heat from the earth and works in extreme climates. Geothermal systems can draw heat from the ground's relatively constant temperature keeping operating costs low. The price to install one of these systems is significant, but they are suitable for many types of homes, are highly reliable, and can reduce energy usage by 30–60%.


Advantages of Heat Pumps

Heat pumps today are typically much more efficient than conventional HVAC systems because they transfer instead of generate heat. They can act as a heater in the winter or an air conditioner in the summer—cooling and dehumidifying the air. According to the U.S. Energy Department, heat pumps can reduce electricity use for heating by as much as 50% compared to traditional heating sources like baseboard heaters or furnaces. This can lead to a great deal of savings on your energy bills and also reduce your impact on the planet. 


Pacific's HVAC team can take care of any of your heating and cooling or climate control needs in or around Aspen, Colorado! Contact us today by clicking the button below!


Topics: heating and cooling