When considering options for heating a residence or other structure, heat pumps are often overlooked. These little work horses can offer considerable advantages when compared to other heating and cooling options. There is great variety among heat pumps but most work on similar principles.
Basic operation of the heat pump works on the premise that there is heat or thermal energy present in the air at all times. The heat pump transfers this energy from one location, known as the source, to another, known as the sink or heat sink. While a heat pump can be used to remove heat from a location to cool it, more often than not, it draws heat from a source and moves it in to warm the environment.
Heat pumps provide numerous benefits, including lower operating costs tan more traditional choices like boilers and furnaces. In many cases, they can produce as much as three times the amount of heat for the same price.
Another benefit is that heat pumps take up less space. With traditional systems, a furnace and an air conditioning unit is both needed. A heat pump handles both functions, thereby taking up less space.
In areas where humidity is a problem, a heat pump can be an advantage. As heat is pulled out of the air, so is moisture. This provides better control of humidity especially during the humid months of late summer.
Some considerations you should make before deciding to use a heat pump include the climate in which it will be used. In climates with extreme temperature ranges, heat pumps will need additional support to provide acceptable indoor temperatures. This will increase the operational costs and may make the heat pump a less desirable option for these situations. Another thing to consider is the cost of installation, maintenance and repair. These can be higher than with traditional heating and cooling systems. Some are also nosier than conventional systems.
Heat pumps are ideal choices for many applications. Climate, operating costs and humidty are important factors in the decision. Each application should be considered against the benefits and disadvantages before choosing a heat pump.
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