Heat pumps are becoming very popular, since they combine the functions of a heater and an air conditioner into a single simple appliance. However, there are several different kinds out there, so it can be hard to figure out which is best for your specific situation. Here are some of the facts about three of the most popular types:
Air-Source Heat Pumps
The first and most common option is to get a simple heat pump that relies on your ventilation system and draws heat from the air. To be a bit more specific, an air-source heat pump actually extracts heat from one portion of air and adds it to another. This can be done in either direction, which means that you can take heat from the air outside during winter and dump it inside. During summer, you can do the reverse and take heat from inside your house to dump it outside.
Installation is a fairly simply affair and won't cost you too much, with the average full installation costing a bit over $5000. As long as you have a ventilation system that is already in place and functioning properly, the installation will be no more complicated than setting up an air conditioner.
Geothermal Heat Pumps
Geothermal heat pumps solve one of the most severe problems with air-source heat pumps, which is that they suffer a large downturn in efficiency when it gets cold outside. Air-source units rely on heat in the air to function, so if there is very little heat in the air (a normal occurrence in winter), then they will need to struggle quite a bit to get that heat into your heat.
Geothermal heat pumps rely on the heat beneath your home instead of the heat around your home in order to function. In short, they exploit the latent heat in the earth beneath your home, which can be a lot more valuable than you might initially imagine.
The drawback is that you will likely spend a fair bit more on a geothermal heat pump, since the installation is a lot more involved. $6000 is common, since you will need to have a professional dig out a section of soil beneath your home for the heat pump to be properly anchored.
Absorption Heat Pumps
While the prior two types rely on electricity to function, you can also get an absorption heat pump, which uses some other form of fuel. Propane, natural gas, and water are all common, since each can be used to store and move large amounts of heat.
If electricity is too expensive in your area or if your electricity grid isn't too reliable, then an absorption heat pump can be a very attractive option. For more information, companies that offer HVAC services can help you know which is best for you.
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