Everything You Need To Know About Your Heat Pump: A Guide For New Homeowners

Many new homeowners know little about heat pump technology, including their operation and maintenance. If you are a new homeowner, these tips will help you get started understanding and caring for your heat pump. 

What Heat Pumps Do

Heat pumps work much like air conditioners. The major difference between a heat pump and an air conditioner is that the heat pump is reversible. In other words, when a house is hot, the heat pump can remove heat from the home's interior and pump it to the exterior. When the house is cold, the heat pump can remove heat from the outdoors and pump it inside. Heat pumps work in all seasons and under a variety of different weather conditions to control the climate and temperatures inside the home. 

How Heat Pumps Work

Heat pumps use refrigerant trapped inside coils to absorb heat in one location and release the heat in a different location. When the gas inside the coils is expanded, it becomes very cold, which allows it to absorb heat outside of the coil. The gas is then compressed until it becomes very hot. The super-heated gas is moved to the desired location and the heat is released. Since the refrigerant can move in two directions, this process can be used for heating or cooling as needed. 

When temperatures outside are moderate, heat pumps are totally effective at meeting all the heating and cooling needs for a single household. In homes where temperatures frequently reach extreme highs and lows, heat pumps may not be able to keep up with all the heating and cooling needs of the household. In this case, a supplemental heat source will kick in and help heat the home. 

How To Use The Heat Pump Thermostat

Heat pumps are controlled by thermostats very similar to the thermostats that control standard air conditioners and furnaces. There are generally four settings on the thermostat: heat, emergency heat, cool and off. To cool or heat your home, switch the thermostat to the proper setting (cooling or heating) and indicate the desired temperature with the push button keypad. When the heat pump is not needed, switch the thermostat to the "off" setting. 

The only time you will ever use the "emergency heat" setting is if the heat pump is broken. This forces the system to use the supplemental heat system as the primary heat source. Doing this is far less efficient and can cost you money over time.

Change The Air Filter Monthly

The air filter for your heat pump is located in a slot between the air handler and the return air duct. Replace the air filter on a monthly basis, or more often if the filter becomes dirty. 

Get Regular Tune-Ups

Have your heat pump serviced annually by a qualified HVAC repair technician. This will help ensure that your heat pump is working efficiently to heat and cool your home. During your first tune up, you can take the time to ask the technician any questions you might have about the operation of your heat pump.