How Do Heat Pumps Work?

Whether you’re the homeowner of a new construction or have been in your existing home for several years, you may not be familiar with an alternative heat source that has numerous benefits. Over the past decade, heat pumps have become popular in other countries and have found homeowners in the U.S. choosing it over conventional heating or a furnace over the last few years. Here, we will look at how a heat pump works and the pros and cons of its installation.

How a Heat Pump Works

A heat pump’s technology utilizes electricity over natural gas or hot water from your home’s boiler system. Instead, the pump extracts the heat from one part of your house, the same way modern refrigerators and residential air conditioners work (a major reason that many HVAC professionals vouch for their efficiency). Once installed, you’ll never again have to worry about a space-heating appliance or clutter in your home.

Here, the heat is circulated through a combination of evaporation and condensation, with an internal compressor manually pumping a refrigerant fluid between dual exchanger coils. Condensed at high pressure, the compression’s heat is absorbed and released. In effect, the pump system heats your house like an AC unit, only not on the cooling mode. Many homeowners have made the switch to pumping technology primarily due to its versatility; a high-end heat pump is “reversible,” meaning it can also cool your home during the summer months, too!

Heat Mode Versus Air Conditioning Mode


Because the pump’s versatility has made it ideal for areas experiencing a temperature difference throughout the seasons, homeowners have been attracted to its ability to use a refrigeration cycle to turn a heating system into an HVAC system. During the winter, heat energy is absorbed from the outside air by the machine’s condenser coil and transferred by the evaporator coil and through ducts by a motorized fan at a higher temperature. That cycle provides comfortable warmth for your family. If you’re interested in real estate and looking to sell your home, most lists of the 5 steps to selling a house fast insist that a convenient, safe, and dependable heating system and AC unit only adds to the house’s market value. With that in mind, this makes it a good idea as a source of heat.

A heat pump isn’t only a good source of heat. In addition to efficient heating, once the summer months come along, and it’s time to cool the house to a lower temperature, the pump’s technology can provide that desired temperature by reducing natural humidity inside the house. Here, the warm air is pulled through the same ductwork and fan. Only now, the liquid refrigerant is pumped from the exterior condenser coil to the evaporator coil and cooled and dehumidified within the home, making for a constant temperature.

How Much You Can Save


Although many homeowners see the incentive to install heat pump systems thanks to the effortless convenience of having one unit to control their house’s temperature year-round and higher efficiency, there are numerous options of pumps and, with that, variations in price. For example, geothermal heat pumps use heat from the ground. In geothermal heat units are a bit steeper in cost compared to air-source heat pumps, primarily because ground-source versions require the installer to dig through the earth’s surface to a heat source from the ground temperature for a more intricate technology and regular maintenance. For many reasons, the geothermal heat pump system has become popular with modern homeowners, particularly in new homes.

Although all heat pumps offer virtually the same technology, one of the few downsides is price differences. A ground-source heat pump can run for an average of $6,000 in list price, while air-source heat pumps rarely go over $3,000. As far as maintenance is concerned, prospective buyers should keep in mind that, although drilling is involved, ground-source units aren’t exposed to the dangers of outdoor weather, requiring fewer repairs and lasting longer.