Although a central air conditioner is the most common type of cooling system found in homes in the St. Louis area, one energy-efficient alternative that’s growing in popularity is an air source heat pump. This type of cooling system is very similar to a central air conditioner, but it is also used as an extremely efficient way to heat your home in the winter. Today we’re going to take a look at how air source heat pumps work and what features to look out for if you’re considering installing one in your home this summer!
How does an air source heat pump work?
On the surface, air source heat pumps look and function almost exactly like central air conditioners. They are composed of indoor and outdoor units that cycle refrigerant between them in order to move heat from one place to another. During winter, the refrigerant absorbs heat from the air outside (hence the name “air source” heat pump) and moves it into your home. During summer, the refrigerant absorbs heat from your home and moves it outside.
The reversing valve in an air source heat pump is what makes it possible to use the unit for both heating and cooling your home. As it gets warmer here in the St. Louis area, the reversing valve will change the direction of the refrigerant flow in the heat pump to switch from the heating to the cooling mode.
What to look for in a new air source heat pump
If you’re considering installing a new air source heat pump this summer, here are a few great features to consider:
- Variable speed air handler. A variable speed air handler operates at multiple speeds depending on the amount of airflow that your home requires at any given time. This is much more energy-efficient than a single-speed air handler that only operates at one high speed.
- Two stage compressor. A two stage compressor has a high and a low setting that are used to meet the demands of your home. Most of the time, the compressor runs on the energy-saving low setting. When it gets really hot outside, it switches to the high setting to keep your home cool.
- High-efficiency components. Air source heat pumps are available with high-efficiency compressors, condenser coils and other components that allow them to operate extremely efficiently.
- Demand-defrost control. During winter, your heat pump has to occasionally defrost to get rid of the ice that builds up on the outdoor unit. A demand-defrost control minimizes the amount of defrost cycles that your heat pump goes through, which reduces the unit’s energy consumption.
- Energy Star label. Air source heat pumps that carry the Energy Star label are typically at least 9 percent more efficient than standard models.
If you have any questions about an air source heat pump, or if you’d like a cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Jerry Kelly, your St. Louis heat pump and air conditioner company. We service the St. Louis area, including towns like Dardenne Prairie, Des Peres and Frontenac.