For climates with moderate heating and cooling needs, heat pumps
offer an energy-efficient alternative to furnaces and air
conditioners. Like your refrigerator, heat pumps use electricity to
move heat from a cool space to a warm space, making the cool space
cooler and the warm space warmer.
During the heating season, heat pumps move heat from the cool
outdoors into your warm house and during the cooling season, heat
pumps move heat from your cool house into the warm outdoors.
Because they move heat rather than generate heat, heat pumps can
provide equivalent space conditioning at as little as one quarter
of the cost of operating conventional heating or cooling
2. Heat pump type
There are three types of heat pumps: air-to-air, water source, and
geothermal. They collect heat from the air, water, or ground
outside your home and concentrate it for use inside.
(1) Air source heat pump
The most common type of heat pump is the air source heat pump,
which transfers heat between your house and the outside air.
Today's heat pump can reduce your electricity use for heating by
approximately 50% compared to electric resistance heating such as
furnaces and baseboard heaters. High-efficiency heat pumps also
dehumidify better than standard central air conditioners, resulting
in less energy usage and more cooling comfort in summer months.
In recent years, air-source heat pump technology has advanced so
that it now offers a legitimate space heating alternative in colder
For homes without ducts, air-source heat pumps are also available
in a ductless version called a mini split heat pump. In addition, a
special type of air-source heat pump called a "reverse cycle
chiller" generates hot and cold water rather than air, allowing it
to be used with radiant floor heating systems in heating mode.
(2) Geothermal water source heat pump
Geothermal (ground source or water source) heat pumps achieve
higher efficiencies by transferring heat between your house and the
ground or a nearby water source. Although they cost more to
install, geothermal heat pumps have low operating costs because
they take advantage of relatively constant ground or water
Geothermal (or ground source) heat pumps have some major
advantages. They can reduce energy use by 30%-60%, control
humidity, are sturdy and reliable, and fit in a wide variety of
homes. Whether a geothermal heat pump is appropriate for you will
depend on the size of your lot, the subsoil, and the landscape.
Ground-source or water-source heat pumps can be used in more
extreme climates than air-source heat pumps, and customer
satisfaction with the systems is very high.