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How Does a Heat Pump Work?

man with heat pump

Although gas furnaces are the most common type of heating system found in St. Louis area homes, heat pumps are another great option for anyone who is looking to save energy and lower utility bills.

These highly efficient units can actually be used to both heat and cool your home. Since it is winter, we’ll focus on explaining how a heat pump can heat your home, but it’s worth noting that the process is simply reversed to cool your home during the summer.

So what exactly is a heat pump, how does it work and why is it so efficient at heating your home?

What is a heat pump?

Very simply, a heat pump is a device that transfers heat from one place to another. They pull heat from an existing source (air, ground or a nearby water source) and move it into your home. This is different than a gas or oil furnace, because they don’t actually produce any heat by burning fuel.

How does a heat pump work?

In an air-source heat pump, heat is pulled from the outside air and transferred into your home. This can be done even when it’s cold outside!

The key to pulling warmth out of the air is liquid refrigerant. Inside the heat pump (located outside), liquid refrigerant is pumped through coils. As the outside air flows into the heat pump, the liquid absorbs heat from the air and creates hot vapor. That vapor is compressed and sent to another set of coils inside your house. There, the refrigerant cools and condenses and is sent back through the process, while the heat is pumped up through your air ducts and distributed throughout your home.

Why are heat pumps so efficient?

The reason heat pumps are more efficient than fuel-burning furnaces is because they don’t actually create any heat on their own. Rather, they simply move existing heat from one place to another. This means that there is very little energy lost during the heating process, and that homeowners can save money on utility bills by avoiding the costs associated with running a gas furnace.

If you have any questions about how heat pumps work, or if you are interested in having an Emerald Heat Pump installed for your home, contact Jerry Kelly, your St. Louis area heating and cooling company.