There’s a good chance that one of your neighbors or family members has a heat pump at their home. But, just what are heat pumps, and what makes them different from air conditioners and furnaces? In this article, we’ll review what heat pumps are, how they work, and the three main reasons they’re a great fit for homes here in Mississippi. We’ll also review two noteworthy heat pump models from Carrier and Trane.
What are heat pumps?
Heat pumps are a type of HVAC system that is capable of both cooling your home in the summer and heating it in the winter. A heat pump accomplishes this by moving heat energy from one place to another—where that heat is moved to and from depends on the season in question. In the summer, the system operates like an air conditioner, using refrigerant to absorb heat energy from your home and then releasing it outside.
In the winter, the heat pump reverses operation. It uses the refrigerant to pull heat energy out of outdoor air and bring it inside (even cold outdoor air has residual heat!). This is different from a gas or electric furnace, which combusts fuel to create heat energy. Heat pumps are just moving energy from one place to another. Which brings us to the first major benefit of owning a heat pump:
Using a heat pump to keep your home comfortable in the winter is far more efficient than using a gas or electric furnace to generate heat. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that switching to a heat pump from an electric furnace can save 50% of the energy used to heat your home. Many heat pump models are also more efficient than air conditioners because they are better at dehumidifying air. As we all know here in Mississippi, humidity is a major factor in how hot we feel in our homes.
The energy efficiency of most heat pumps only starts to dip in extremely cold weather, where the heat pump may struggle to pull the remaining heat energy out of the outdoor air. However, given how mild our winters are here in McComb, most heat pumps here see no drop in efficiency during the winter months.
Heat pumps are a perfect match for our mild winter climate. Since a heat pump is capable of both cooling and heating your home, it allows you to have one HVAC system instead of two (such as an air conditioner and a gas furnace). Beyond saving you on installation costs, that means you only have one system to maintain and repair year-round.
There are many different types of heat pumps, which gives homeowners greater options when investing in their home’s comfort. The most common type—and the one discussed in this article—are air-source heat pumps. These systems, as the name implies, transfer heat energy from and into the air. However, there are two other types of heat pumps out there, as well:
- Ground-source (or geothermal): These heat pumps pull radiant heat energy from underground and bring it into your home. These systems are highly efficient during the winter.
- Water-source: Far less common than the other two types, these heat pumps pull and deposit heat into a nearby water source, such as a lake or pond on the property.
At Southern Air, our team primarily installs air-source heat pumps. As your local Carrier and Trane dealer here in McComb and Southwest Mississippi, there are two high-performance systems you should know about:
- The Carrier Infinity 20 Heat Pump: This is the most efficient, comfort-enhancing heat pump that Carrier manufacturers. It gets up to 20.5 SEER cooling performance in the summer and up to 13.0 HSPF in the winter. It has Carrier’s patented Greenspeed Intelligence, which allows it to vary its speed depending on what is best needed to maintain the desired temperature of your home.
- The Trane XV20i Variable Speed Heat Pump: This system from the trusted manufacturer Trane gets up to 20 SEER and has a HSPF score of 10. The TruComfort variable-speed motor allows this system to shift into 750 different speeds for optimal comfort in your home. It’s also one of the quietest heating and cooling systems on the market.
Is a heat pump right for your home?
If you need a new cooling or heating system, a Carrier or Trane air-source heat pump might be a great fit for your home here in Mississippi. Give the team at Southern Air a call for a free in-home estimate. We’d love to send one of our experienced technicians out to meet with you and talk through your cooling and heating options.