Do Heat Pumps Cool as Well as Air Conditioners?
Heat pumps in our region are often the appliance of choice to provide both heating and cooling for homes. They’re as energy efficient as central air conditioners and gas furnaces, and are simple and safe to operate, since they don’t use combustion fuel. These appliances must meet the same energy efficiency requirements that a central air conditioner does, and use the same principles of cooling.
The difference lies in the reversing capacity that a heat pump has that an A/C unit doesn’t have. This setup changes the flow of refrigerant from season to season. In the summer, the refrigerant undergoes pressure in the compressor and flows into the evaporator coil as a liquid, which takes away your home’s heat as air blows over it. In the winter, it reverses, and the refrigerant collects heat from the outdoor air to warm your home.
Both heat pumps and air conditioners carry energy efficiency ratings called SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio). The U.S. Department of Energy has established the minimum for new units at 13, which means that the pump will remove 13 Btus (British thermal units) of heat for each kilowatt (kW) of electricity the system uses. Heat pumps also have another rating for heating efficiency called the HSPF (heating season performance factor) that starts at 7.7 and goes to 10.
A secondary benefit a heat pump provides is its ability to remove humidity from your home in the summer. As air flows over the evaporator coil, the excessive humidity condenses and drains into the drainpipe. As a consequence, your home feels more comfortable and the indoor air quality improves, since excessive humidity promotes mold growth and dust mite proliferation.
If both your heating and cooling system needs replacing, considering heat pumps could be the most energy-efficient way to accomplish both with one appliance. To learn more, contact the pros at Air-Tro, Inc., providing outstanding HVAC services for homeowners in the Greater Pasadena area since 1969.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Monrovia, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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