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Four heat pump units outside of a building

If your current heating and cooling system are getting old, unreliable, and expensive to operate, it could be time to replace it. Have you considered upgrading to a heat pump? This high-efficiency equipment offers an alternative to the traditional furnace and air conditioner combination. Learn more about heat pumps to help you decide if this type of system could be right for your Florida home.

What Is a Heat Pump?

A heat pump is a type of forced-air HVAC system. It differs from other heating equipment because it uses electricity to transfer heat rather than generating it from a fuel source. As a result, heat pumps operate incredibly efficiently, especially in mild winter weather.

Thanks to a built-in reversing valve, heat pumps can even cool your home in the summer. In fact, they operate the same as an air conditioner during the warmer months. Because they handle your heating and cooling needs, there’s usually no reason to install a separate furnace.

How Does a Heat Pump Work?

Heat pumps get their name because they absorb heat from one location and pump it into another. They use refrigerant to do this, just like an air conditioner.

In cooling mode, warm indoor air blows across the indoor evaporator coil, which contains chilled refrigerant. The refrigerant absorbs the heat, leaving cooled air to distribute through the ductwork. Meanwhile, the outdoor condensing unit releases heat from the refrigerant with the help of metal fins and a large fan. The cooled refrigerant can now flow back into the house and absorb more heat.

In heating mode, this process occurs in reverse. Outdoor air blows across the outdoor coils so the refrigerant can absorb heat. Even chilly winter air contains some heat energy! The refrigerant then flows into the indoor coil so the air blowing over it can transfer heat to your home.

What Are the Components of a Heat Pump System?

Heat pumps share many of the same parts as air conditioners. These include:

  • An outdoor condensing unit (which acts as the evaporator coil in heating mode)
  • An indoor evaporator (which acts as the condensing coil in heating mode)
  • The refrigerant that absorbs and releases heat as it circulates between the condensing and evaporator coils
  • A two-speed or scroll compressor that pressurizes the refrigerant on its way to the condensing coil
  • An expansion valve that depressurizes and significantly cools the refrigerant on its way to the evaporator coil

In addition to these components, heat pumps also feature a reversing valve that changes the refrigerant flow, allowing for year-round climate control. If a furnace and blower aren’t present, the heat pump requires an air handler to distribute heated and cooled air throughout the house.

What Are the Different Types of Heat Pumps?

Heat pumps come in several forms:

  • Air-source heat pumps are the most common. They provide central heating and cooling, and the outdoor unit looks nearly indistinguishable from an air conditioner.
  • Ground-source heat pumps, also known as geothermal heat pumps, transfer heat to and from the earth, which stays warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer than outdoor air. Ground-source heat pumps are the single most efficient way to heat and cool a building, but they require space to install underground loops on the property.
  • Ductless heat pumps, also known as ductless mini-splits, contain an outdoor unit and standalone, wall-mounted air handlers. They offer the flexibility to control the temperature in a single room or the entire house by connecting multiple air handlers to one outdoor unit, all without needing to install ductwork.
  • Heat pump water heaters use air-source heat pump technology to provide hot water for your home. They are an excellent alternative to electric water heaters, especially if natural gas isn’t a fuel option in your area.

Is Florida a Good Climate for Heat Pumps?

Yes! Florida’s mild winter weather means heat pumps are an excellent way to achieve high-efficiency temperature control. They are also suitable in colder climates, thanks to backup electric resistance heating coils that provide supplementary heat when needed. Still, many homeowners in colder regions choose to install a dual-fuel HVAC system involving an electric heat pump and a natural gas furnace to improve efficiency when the temperature falls below freezing.

Schedule Heat Pump Services

If you are interested in installing a heat pump or need your existing heat pump serviced, Certified Climate Control can help. We’re qualified to install, maintain, repair, and replace all kinds of HVAC systems. As a preferred dealer for Daikin, Bryant, and other leading HVAC brands, you can count on us to install the best products available. We also retain an A+ rating with the BBB and have won the Super Service Award nine years in a row. Contact us today to schedule heat pump services in Orange, Seminole, or Volusia County, FL.