Climate Impact of Heat Pumps

Heat Pump combines air conditioning and heating in one appliance using thermal energy to cool and warm homes. It does so by extracting the heat energy from a low-temperature reservoir, such as the air or water, and pumping it into the building interior via a refrigeration cycle. In doing so it provides an efficient method of air conditioning and heating, providing a significant saving on utility bills in comparison to conventional heating systems.

Heat pumps can reduce a home’s carbon footprint, but the extent of their impact on the climate depends on how the electricity used to power them is produced. If the electricity comes from renewable sources like wind and solar, they have a much lower climate impact than if it is generated by burning fossil fuels like coal or natural gas.

Heat Pump operates much the same as a standard air conditioner in the summer, drawing in hot outdoor air and expelling it out. However, thanks to an ingenious reversing valve, it can also operate in reverse and absorb thermal energy from the colder outdoor air. Unlike traditional equipment, which draws on refrigerant gases that have their own climate impacts, the ingenious reversing valve allows the system to operate without them.

Because of this, the heat pump’s climate impact is reduced by a significant margin, as it only uses electricity to operate. This is particularly important as the world focuses on lowering its greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change. The use of a heat pump also cuts back on leaks of methane, which is another potent planet-heating gas.

There are three main types of duct-connected heat pumps: air-to-air, ground source and geothermal. They can also be combined with a boiler for those who need more advanced heating capabilities.

When shopping for a heat pump, look for the SEER and HSPF ratings. These are industry-standard efficiency ratings that tell you how well the product cools and heats a home. The higher the rating, the more efficient the unit.

Depending on your local climate, you may need to supplement a heat pump with other heating methods when temperatures drop below freezing on a regular basis. This can be accomplished with a small electric heater or oil furnace, which will take the place of a central heating unit when necessary.

Heat pumps last up to 25 years in a well-insulated home, although they should be regularly inspected and maintained to help them reach this longevity. They can even be included in a home warranty, which is worth checking with your provider to see whether or not they are covered. The most common cause for repairs on heat pumps is that they are not insulated enough, so proper insulation should be installed before the heat pump is purchased. Additionally, a professional will need to inspect the system twice a year, once before the cooling season and once before the heating season. This will ensure that the system is working properly and not leaking.