Despite the name, heat pumps do more than just heat a home. They simultaneously cool the air around them. Much like a refrigerator, heat pumps pull out heat and allocate it to a separate space, cooling one space while warming another. The best part? Heat pumps are among the more energy-efficient heating and cooling options. Heat pumps are a great option for Washington’s generally milder weather as they can adapt for the season. Let’s take a closer look!
Understanding Heat Pumps
Heat Pumps have a variety of uses; from heating and cooling buildings to cars and even water. For heating buildings like your home or office, heat pumps are usually refrigeration devices which use a reversing valve to switch between heating and cooling. The most common type of heat pump is an air-source heat pump, which moves warm air from your house to outside to cool your home, or vice versa to heat it. Air-source heat pumps are a popular option, and for good reason. Compared to baseboard heating and furnaces, air-source heat pumps are known to reduce electricity consumption for heating by as much as 50%.
Another advantage of Heat Pumps is the option to use an air duct system or go ductless, making it adaptable to your home’s current system. Although we’ve covered the advantages of ductless systems previously, ducted systems also have their advantages. One big advantage is the aesthetic appeal for your home. Ducted systems are more hidden and built-in, removing the bulky look of the alternate ductless systems. Many homes also have air ducts, and as such, using what’s already available is an obvious, and effective, option.
Maintaining Your Heat Pump
There are steps you can take towards keeping your heat pump operating properly. Check your heat pump regularly for debris: leaves during the fall and spring, snow or ice during the winter. These can obstruct your heat pump’s access to outdoor air making it difficult, if not impossible, to move air properly. Check gutters around the heat pump to make sure water does not leak on it. Also prevent bushes and plants from growing too close to it. Once a month or so you’ll want to change the filters and clean the outdoor coils. Low air flow can be a symptom of a bad or dirty filter. These simple steps go a long way to keeping your Heat Pump working efficiently!
In addition to what you can do at home, you’ll want to have an annual inspection done. Your HVAC specialist (p.s., we know a good one!) will do a more thorough inspection, including refrigerant, electrical turnials, belts, and thermostats. If you have a ducted system, your specialist will also inspect your air ducts. Don’t skip your inspection; it’s better to prevent a problem before it starts than when you’re stuck in another Northwest heat wave without cooling!
Repairing or Replacing Your Heat Pump
Most problems with Heat Pumps come down to a lack of maintenance and can be repaired. Generally, replacement is reserved for older systems. When it does come time to replace your heat pump, you’ll have a variety of options available to you. Mainly, whether to go ductless or ducted. If you already have an air duct system, ducted might be the obvious choice. If you don’t, there’s a lot to consider! Your HVAC professional will talk with you about your home, your budget, your long-term plans, and help you make the best choice for your home and lifestyle.
Heat Pumps are wonderful machines that are used worldwide by more than 800 million people, and for good reason. For those of us in Seattle, Tacoma, or all around Western Washington, our changing climate is a good match for a reliable Heat Pump. No wonder they’re such a popular choice here! If you’re needing to update, repair, or replace your heat pump, or you just need an inspection, give us a call! You might start by checking out our promotions page. We offer discounts to those who serve our community and country. We’ll be happy to hear from you!