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4 Common Questions About Heat Pumps

A heat pump can keep your home in Cleburne, Texas, cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It can do without taking up much space as a central air conditioner and a furnace. Heat pumps are among the most efficient and versatile heating and cooling systems on the market. Before you decide on a heat pump for your home, you should make sure you know the answers to some common questions.

How Do Heat Pumps Work?

In summer, the refrigerant coils in your heat pump transfer heat from your indoor unit to your outdoor unit. When the motor in your heat pump’s outdoor unit compresses the refrigerant, the coils cool down and the cold refrigerant moves to your indoor air handler. Then, your heat pump’s fan moves air over the coils to cool it and push it through the ductwork. After the liquid refrigerant warms and becomes a gas, it’s compressed and cooled again. This is why the indoor air handler is sometimes called the evaporator.

In winter, the flow of refrigerant reverses, transferring heat from your outdoor air into your home instead. Some heat pumps can even switch from cooling to heating automatically.

Do Heat Pumps Work in All Types of Weather?

Heat pumps are as good at cooling as conventional air conditioners. But they could have trouble heating your home when it’s below freezing.

When it’s cold outside, there’s not much heat available to transfer into your home. Fortunately, the weather doesn’t get cold that often in Texas. For those rare instances when it does, you can buy a portable space heater or upgrade to a hybrid system with a heat pump and a backup electric or natural-gas heater. Specially designed heat pumps that work in very cold weather are available as well.

What Size is Best?

If you choose a heat pump that’s too small, your system will struggle to keep you comfortable. Your utility bills will be higher than they would with a correctly sized unit. If your heat pump is too large, your system will keep short-cycling. It’ll turn on and off every few minutes because it changes the temperature in your home to match the temperature on your thermostat too quickly. You’ll have to deal with temperature fluctuations, wasted energy, and the sound of your HVAC system turning on and off often.

Before you choose a new heat pump, an HVAC expert should calculate the correct size for maximum efficiency. They will use specialized software to consider a variety of factors, including the:

  • Number of windows in your home
  • Number of occupants
  • Amount and type of insulation
  • Amount of shade
  • Heights of your ceilings
  • Number of appliances that generate heat

How Should Heat Pumps Be Maintained?

You should have your heat pump checked by a professional in spring and fall. That way you can find and repair any problems, like refrigerant leaks or a malfunctioning thermostat, before they become so severe that they stop your system from functioning. Without heating or air conditioning, you might have to stay at a hotel until you can get your heat pump repaired or replaced.

You should change your heat pump’s air filter at least every few months to prevent poor indoor air quality. Air filters are inexpensive, and a clean filter can catch pollen, pet dander, dust, dirt and other contaminants. This prevents allergy symptoms, health problems and many bad smells.

Check your outdoor unit once per week as well. Remove and debris, like leaves or grass clippings, and trim surrounding plants for better airflow.

Airmasters AC, Heat, Plumbing & Electrical is a Trane Comfort Specialist with more than 30 years of heating and cooling experience. We can help you with maintaining, repairing and installing a variety of equipment, including heat pumps. Call us at 817-506-4862 for quality service at an affordable price. We have the tools to do the job well, and we offer a 100-percent satisfaction guarantee.

Image provided by Shutterstock

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