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How a Heat Pump Works in Cold Weather

A heat pump is an alternative to the traditional HVAC systems that most people are used to, combining the features of a heater and an air conditioner into one. It costs a little more to install, but makes up for the cost with more efficient service, saving the homeowner money in monthly bills. The system of a heat pump is similar to that of an air conditioner, with a closed loop system cycling refrigerant through a series of condensers and evaporators. In the winter, that process is “reversed,” creating heat instead of cold to fill your home. But what does that entail, specifically? Here’s how a heat pump works in cold weather.

In the winter, the refrigerant absorbs the heat from the outside air and then goes to the compressor, where it is put under pressure which increases the temperature. Then that heat is then transferred to the inside air, and the warm air is distributed in your home via the ductwork.

Heat pumps are most effective on their own in climates where temperatures don’t dip below 40 degrees. Here in Vermont and upstate New York, our winters get colder than that. However, most heat pumps have backup electric resistant coils that can supplement the heat absorbed from the outside.  In addition, many heat pumps in the area are hybrid units, which have a backup furnace that kicks on when the outside temperature gets too low for the heat pump to heat efficiently.

If you are interested in learning more about heat pumps, give us a call today. Or, if you already have one, you can schedule a repair or maintenance session to keep it running at its peak. Either way, Red Rock Mechanical has the skills and experience to do the job right.

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