April 10, 2024

If you own a home in American Fork, UT, and are looking for a new efficient heating system, chances are you have heard about heat pumps. They’re rapidly gaining traction as a popular alternative to gas-powered furnaces and conventional central air conditioning. The biggest reason is that their manufacturers tout their almost too-good-to-be-true efficiency. However, if you’ve read up about heat pump technology, you may have noticed that heat pumps have a reputation for being inefficient in cold temperatures. However, this may not be the case.

What Is a Heat Pump?

As their name suggests, heat pumps are mechanical devices that move heat from one place to another. What you probably don’t know is that your home already has at least one heat pump operating inside it. Your home’s refrigerator is a type of heat pump. Its job is to capture heat inside its sealed interior and expel it into the air surrounding the unit. Your home’s air conditioning system is another kind of heat pump. The most significant mechanical difference between the HVAC heat pumps you see on the market today and conventional air conditioners is that heat pumps can operate in reverse.

How Does a Heat Pump Work?

A heat pump, just like a conventional air conditioner, relies on the refrigeration process to operate. In the summer, this involves using a cold refrigerant to absorb heat from your home’s air and carry it outside to expel into the outdoor environment. In the winter, that process reverses, allowing the heat pump to harvest heat energy from the outside air, amplify it, and bring it inside to heat your home. In this operating mode and under ideal conditions, a heat pump can operate at up to 400% efficiency.

A heat pump can achieve such amazing efficiency in the winter because it uses no fuel to generate heat. There’s no combustion, and the only electricity used goes to run a few fans and a compressor. All of the heat energy already exists in the outdoor environment, and the heat pump exploits that to tremendous effect. Cold weather heat pumps operate with refrigerants capable of reaching temperatures as low as -15 degrees Fahrenheit. Since heat energy always flows toward colder substances, heat pumps can collect heat outside as long as the outdoor air remains warmer than the refrigerant.

Are Heat Pumps Efficient in Utah?

In cooling mode, heat pumps routinely rank among the most efficient air conditioning options on the market. In the winter, their efficiency largely depends on two factors. One is the outdoor temperature. The lower the temperature outside gets, the less efficient a heat pump will be. The second factor is what kind of heat pump you purchase. If you choose a standard heat pump, it will operate at peak efficiency in the winter as long as the temperature remains above freezing. Once the mercury drops to around 25 degrees Fahrenheit, a standard heat pump will be roughly as efficient as the average gas furnace. However, since gas is cheaper than electricity, a heat pump will cost more to operate at that point.

It’s also worth noting that standard heat pumps include backup electrical resistance heating elements to provide supplemental heat when it gets too cold outside for the heat pump alone. A heat pump operating in that mode will be terribly inefficient. A standard heat pump could cost you quite a bit to operate if there is an extended cold snap.

If you choose a cold-weather heat pump, however, it will beat the efficiency of any other heating system, even in very cold weather. The key differences lie in the type of refrigerant such systems use and their compressor design. You will need to pay a bit more up-front for a cold-weather heat pump than a standard one, but it will guarantee you efficient performance in all kinds of weather conditions.

Your Local Heat Pump Experts

As a trusted part of the local community since 1910, you can count on Gunthers Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing to be your best source for heat pump installation in American Fork. We offer comprehensive HVAC services, including installing, repairing, and maintaining heating and cooling systems. We also provide expert plumbing, indoor air quality solutions, sheet metal fabrication, and commercial HVAC services. We stand behind all the work we do and have the reputation to prove it. To learn more, check out our countless five-star reviews from customers just like you. If you’re interested in a heat pump in American Fork, contact Gunthers Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing today!

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