The term “heat pump” has seemingly burst into existence in the past few years. The terminology and definitions are at times confusing and contradictory. To make your life easier, we’ll speed through the basics of heat pumps and what we think of this technology as experienced HVAC contractors.
It’s an air conditioning unit that can also transfer heat. In the summer, it takes the heat out. In the winter, it brings the heat in. It’s that simple.
Well, not really. Heat pumps don’t actually “pump out” heat, but instead transfer heat from one place to another. They can provide both heating and cooling, which is why they’re so versatile. But all of this can sound pretty technical and complicated, so please find our “simplified” guide below.
To generalize, there’s 3 major types:
To simplify, an air source heat pump uses duct work while the minisplit doesn’t. However, there are minisplit air source units and there are air source minisplit units. Yes, you read that right.
The lingo can be confusing, so for simplification, the HVAC trade refers to heat pumps that require duct work as “Air Source” and those that don’t as “MiniSplit”.
The air source forced-air heat pump system is the most affordable and common type of heat pump system in Colorado. However, many properties in CO don’t have duct work and use minisplit systems instead.
Ground Source units are rare and costly in Colorado; these units typically require digging vertically down or a large land surface. Due to the associated cost (which can be upwards of $30,000 – $40,000) they’re fairly rare and not typical in the large majority of homes.
To simplify, yes. A Heat Pump is typically around 10-15% more efficient when compared to a conventional heating and cooling system in total energy usage in real world settings. In lab & theoretical settings, the efficiency gain may be as high as 25-30%.
If you have
Installing a heat pump may be an ideal path forward for you for future-proofing and reducing your energy costs.
From our point of view as a professionals in the HVAC trade, the trend towards heat pumps and electrification has large governmental and institutional support behind it. Whether heat pumps and electrification are the future of the HVAC industry is still hotly debated (WSJ).
As of now, when we look at the near-future (5-10 years), it seems that we’re in the beginning stages of the trend towards heat pumps and HVAC electrification; So, for the time being, heat pumps are likely the best choice for future-proofing your heating and cooling system.
It really depends on the specific system; however, there are some general positives and negatives to heat pump systems:
We hope that you enjoyed reading this short summary on heat pumps and have a better understanding of if heat pump technology is a good fit for you.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to us. We’ve been pioneering heat pumps in Colorado and consider ourselves the “technical” guys. So, our knowledge is unmatched in our industry.