How Effective Is a Heat Pump?

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How Effective Is a Heat Pump

A heat pump can be an effective option for your home depending on where you live. Before we can see if a heat pump is right for you, we first need to touch on a few things first, such as how a heat pump functions. TemperaturePro Central New Jersey, which does air conditioning repair in East Brunswick, NJ, has shared some details about how they work.

How Does a Heat Pump Work?

A heat pump is a device that is capable of pulling heat from one area and putting it into another. In your home, it takes the heat from the inside and puts it outside during the warmer months and does the reverse during the cooler season.

It is extremely similar to an air conditioner, at least during the spring and summer months. What sets this apart from a normal air conditioning system is the reversal valve. This piece does exactly what it implies and pushes heat from the outside in, which is then circulated throughout your home.

In warmer climates, a heat pump is often used in conjunction with an air handler to circulate the warmer air around. In colder climates that require considerably more heat, this air handler is replaced with a gas furnace to create a dual-fuel system that radiates heat through your home.

A dual-fuel system is actually an extremely energy efficient option. It works by both the heat pump and the gas furnace working in conjunction with one another, causing one to click on and the other off when it is most effective. Both share the heating load but aren’t on at the same time.

How Are Heat Pumps Powered?

Heat pumps don’t rely on  natural gas or propane, making them an electrical machine only. The advantage is that this means just about anyone can use this device. That being said, you should be aware that the lower the temperature the more it has to work, requiring more electricity.

Other than just size and efficiency, heat pumps can be divided into roughly three categories: standard, mini-split, and geothermal. Geothermal options are renewable energy variants only usable in certain areas, while mini-splits are known for being ductless.

Do Heat Pumps Work in Very Low Temperatures?

The short answer is that heat pumps typically don’t work well under 30 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes them ideal for more southern states or any other area closer to the equator. That being said, even if you are in a colder spot you shouldn’t necessarily count these devices out. Even when it is extremely cold out, there is still some heat. Even a small amount of heat is able to be sucked out and used to replace the cooler air found in your home. In the case that there isn’t enough heat outside, there is an electric heater to supplement.

States ranging from Georgia over to the lower section of California and farther south can effectively use a heat pump throughout the winter season. Farther north than this might require the inclusion of supplemental heating such as a gas stove or fireplace.

Which Is More Cost Effective, Gas or Electric?

The general rule of thumb is that the farther north you are, the more effective gas is over electric. If you want to quantify it, you might come across a few issues, as calculating the costs of gas an electric heating can be a bit complicated. Both gas and electric rely on different units of measurement. Gas companies usually bill based on therms while electric companies use kilowatt-hours. The only way to figure it out for sure is to find out how many cents per BTU you pay for each type of fuel.

Overall, a heat pump is cheaper to buy, install, and maintain than a furnace. For newer homes that are well insulated, a heat pump can be a better option than a furnace. That being said, there are high-efficiency furnaces and boilers that can do wonders.

High efficiency homes are a better fit for a heat pump because of the simple fact that most furnaces are built with less efficient homes in mind. This is especially an issue in the spring and fall when temperatures are more variable, causing significant energy loss.


Heat pumps are neat device that pull air out of the outside and put it inside, and vice versa. While a good option for those areas with milder weather, a furnace might be a better option for areas that get below freezing temperature regularly.

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