What is a Heat Pump?
Despite their name, heat pumps do a lot more than heating. They also provide air conditioning and humidity control. During the heating season, a heat pump moves heat from the cool outdoors into your home; then during the cooling season, it transfers heat from your house to the warm outdoors. Heat pumps move heat rather than generate it, so they can heat and cool for significantly less cost than other systems, such as furnaces and central air conditioners
Heat pump systems offer an efficient alternative to central air conditioners and other heating systems by providing conditioned air at approximately one quarter of the cost. They provide not only heat to a home, but can also can be used to cool a home and control humidity. Heat pumps are most popular in southern regions where winters are mild and the summers are hot. Areas of the country subjected to prolonged winters and subfreezing temperatures are not ideal for this type of system.
Cost to Replace a Heat Pump
Heat pump units can cost between $2,000 to $8,000 to install depending on the size of your home, energy efficient ratings, brand name, and the type of heat pump you are wanting to install. If you were installing a single room heat pump you can expect to pay around $550 for the heat pump unit alone.
Types of Heat Pumps
There are three main types of heat pumps to choose from depending on your home’s needs. There are air source heat pumps, split ductless heat pumps, and also the more expensive geothermal heat pump. Each heat pump is suited for a particular home’s heating and cooling needs discussed below.
1. Air Source Heat Pumps
Air-source heat pump systems are the most common option a homeowner will choose to install in their home. An air source heat pump has an indoor air handler unit and also an outdoor heat pumping unit. They are great for reducing your home’s heating costs compared to similar heating units able to handle. They are often suited for climates that are found in the Northeast and Midwest regions.
2. Split System Ductless Heat Pumps
Split system heat pumps are set up similar to a regular air source heat pump with an outside unit and inside unit that helps condition the air by pushing refrigerant between the two AC units. They are perfect for homes that have no ductwork installed. Ductless heat pumps can offer full home air conditioning with multiple zone units installed in different rooms throughout the house.
3. Geo Thermal Heat Pumps
A ground and water source heat pump, also know as geothermal heat pumps, are another option for heat pump replacement. Geothermal heat pumps are better suited for bigger home’s that need a heating and cooling unit that can perform at maximum capacity for larger homes. A geothermal heat pump is the more expensive heat pump to install and it’s best to speak with a local contractor to see if you need this type of heat pump for your home or if you could install a cheaper option that would work just as well.
How Does a Heat Pump Work?
A heat pump works primarily by transferring outside heat to the inside of your home during the winter months. During the summer months it transfers heat from inside your home to the outside.
There are five main parts to a heat pump system:
- Reversing Valve
- Air Handler
Three of the five main components — condenser, compressor and reversing valve — make up the outside unit. The other two — evaporator and air handler — are part of the inside unit. During the heating cycle, as liquid refrigerant circulates through the outside condenser coils, it absorbs heat and transforms into a gas. As the gas travels through to the indoor evaporator coils, it releases the heat which is dispersed into the home via the air handler and duct system and converts back into a liquid. During the cooling cycle, the process is reversed. This type of heat pump system is commonly referred to as an air source heat pump.