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Heat Pump

Heat pumps are electric powered units similar to an air conditioner. The functional difference between the two is that a heat pump can not only providing air conditioning, but heating as well.

Heat pumps are typically part of a split system design, but instead of using a furnace fan motor to distribute air through the home, an air handler or fan coil, which is basically the fan motor from a furnace and the coils from an evaporator coil.

During the summer months, a heat pump cools indoor air with R-410A refrigerant exactly like an air conditioner does: refrigerant is cooled and sent inside to the evaporator coil or fan coil (air handler) where it extracts heat from the indoor air. In the winter this process is reversed by extracting heat from the air outside. This heat is absorbed into the refrigerant and sent to the indoor coil. Even though the outside air may be cold in the winter, it still contains heat.

Hybrid System
In cold climates an HVAC contractor might suggest a hybrid heating system. A hybrid system is made up of a heat pump and gas furnace. This offers increased heating efficiency during the winter months. Heat pumps can be more efficient than a gas furnace when the temperature is 40° F and above (this varies depending on local utility and fuel prices). Below 40° F a gas furnace will often be more efficient. In a hybrid system design, the heat pump and gas furnace automatically switch on and off depending on temperature, providing highly efficient heating.

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Heat Pump