If you are looking for one system to both heat and cool your home, then you need look no further than a heat pump. Heat pumps work by absorbing heat from one location and then moving it to another. You have two main choices when it comes to heat pumps: air-source and ground-source. While you can save yourself money on installation costs by using an air-source heat pump, you will save more money in the long run with a ground-source heat pump.
How a Air-Source Heat Pump Works
Like an AC system, an air-source heat will use a set of evaporator coils to absorb heat from inside your home and a set of condenser coils to expel that heat on the outside of your home. Unlike an AC system, the function of the coils on a heat pump can be reversed so that it absorbs heat from the air outside your home to heat the interior. Even if the temperature outside your home dips close to freezing, there is still heat in the air, but your heat pump will have to work harder to absorb it. Thus, air-source heat pumps are best suited for areas that have a mild climate.
How a Ground-Source Heat Pump Works
A ground-source heat pump differs from an air-source in that workers will install a specially designed set of coils in the ground. The reason for this is that the temperature of the earth at a depth of ten feet below the surface will remain a consistent 50–60˚ year round. Excavating to bury these coils will drive up the cost of installing a ground-source heat pump, but you get impressive savings for the money you spend. A ground-source heat pump can be up to 600% efficient. This means it will create six units of heat for every unit of electricity that it uses. Thus, you should be able to pay for the cost of financing a heat pump with the money you save on your cooling costs.
Many homeowners use a combination of a furnace and an AC unit to heat and cool a home. While this is an effective option, it is not the only one. If you live in a mild climate, you can decrease your installation costs by installing just one piece of equipment: an air-source heat pump. If you live in a harsh climate, an air-source heat pump may not be up to the task, but you can still use a ground-source heat pump, which will improve your efficiency even over an air-source heat pump year round.