Heat Pump - A heat pump is a device that uses a small amount of energy to move heat from one location to another. Heat pumps are usually used to pull heat out of the air or ground to heat a home or office building, or they can be switched into reverse to cool a building. If you know how an air conditioner works, you already know a lot about how a heat pump works, because heat pumps and air conditioners operate in very similar ways.
Heat pumps are a unique kind of heating system, because they can do the work of both a furnace and an air conditioner. Thus, there's no need to install separate systems to heat and cool your home. Heat pumps can also work extremely efficiently, because they simply transfer heat, rather than burn fuel to create it. Heat pumps work best in moderate climates. If you live in a moderate climate, using a heat pump instead of a furnace and air conditioner may help you save money on your utility bill. Most heat pumps are somewhat limited by the cold, however, so it is important that you learn which kind of heat pump is best for your area before installing one in your home or office building. If you install the wrong kind of heat pump, you may end up paying even more in energy costs than you do already.
Heat Transfer and Air-Source Heat Pumps
There are many different kinds of heat pumps, but they all operate on the same basic principle of heat transfer. Heat transfer means that rather than burning fuel to create heat, a device moves heat from one place to another. Heat naturally flows downhill, which means that it tends to move from a location with a high temperature to a location with a lower temperature. A heat pump uses a small amount of energy to switch that process into reverse, pulling heat out of a relatively low-temperature area, and pumping it into a higher temperature area. In a heat pump, this heat is transferred from a heat source (e.g. the ground or air) into a heat sink (e.g. your home).
One of the most common types of heat pumps is the air-source heat pump, which takes heat from the air outside your home and pumps it inside through refrigerant-filled coils. Inside this basic heat pump, you'll find two fans, refrigerator coils, a reversing valve and a compressor. This system is more commonly known as an air-air heat pump, because it takes heat from outdoor air and transfers it to indoor air ducts. With the proper modification, air-source systems can also work with other types of indoor heating systems.
The reversing valve is a very versatile part of a heat pump. It reverses the flow of the refrigerant, so that the system begins to operate in the opposite direction. Instead of pumping heat inside your home, the heat pump releases it, just like an air conditioner. The refrigerant now absorbs heat on the indoor side of the unit and flows to the outside, where the heat is released and the refrigerant cools and flows back indoors to pick up more heat.
If your home doesn't have air ducts to distribute heat, you could use a special kind of heat pump called a mini-split heat pump. A mini-split heat pump connects an outdoor air-source unit to multiple indoor units that in turn connect to water heat or space heaters. Ductless mini-split systems are useful for retrofitting a home with a heat pump system, as their locations outside and inside the home are flexible, and installation only requires a three-inch (7.6 cm) conduit to come through the wall. The indoor air handlers for a mini-split system may be installed in the wall, ceiling, or on the floor, and are relatively small.
Pros and Cons of Heat Pumps
Heat pumps can help consumers save on utilities, but they have limitations. First, they tend to be somewhat ineffective in any climate where the outdoor air temperature falls near or below freezing on a regular basis. This is because moving heat from a very cold area to a hotter one takes more energy than moving heat between two areas with a more moderate temperature difference. There's also more heat available outside in a moderate climate than in a cold climate. It's important to note that even in a cold climate, there's still heat in the outside air to be pumped indoors, but the unit needs to work harder to extract the heat that is available. Supplemental energy may be required to make the heat pump produce enough warmth to comfortably heat your home when the temperature falls below freezing.
The heat produced by heat pumps isn't as intense as the heat produced by a gas or oil-burning furnace. Some people used to traditional furnaces are uncomfortable with the milder heat produced by these systems. Other people prefer the warmth produced by heat pumps, because heat pumps distribute heat evenly throughout the house, meaning there are no cold spots. A heat pump also should turn on and off less often than a gas furnace, and most systems have eliminated the blowing of cold air through the vents that used to occur when the system temporarily switched into reverse to defrost the coils.
Before you install a heat pump, you will need to consider what kind of supplemental or backup heating you may need to use when the heat pump can't work efficiently. Many heat pumps use supplemental electrical heating, but you might also use some kind of oil burner or an adapted gas furnace. Whatever type of heating system is common in your area is likely the most efficient and cost-effective backup method.
Heat Pump Maintenance
If you use your heat pump on a regular basis, you should change the filter about once a month. You could probably get away with only changing the filter once every three months if you only run the unit periodically. Keep fans and coils clean and free from debris, and have your heat pump inspected by a professional once every year or two.
The XV20i variable speed heat pump system can both heat and cool your home efficiently, while simultaneously creating a clean and comfortable environment in your home.
The Trane TruComfort systems give you precise comfort by running at the exact speed needed to keep your home comfortable. This allows the variable speed compressor, outdoor fan, and indoor fan to vary operating speed and BTU as the temperature outside changes, slowing down or speeding up gradually in as little as 1/10 of 1% increments to keep comfort within 1/2 ° of the thermostat setting.
The XV20i variable speed heat pump is one of the industry’s most efficient systems, with ratings up to 20.00 SEER and 10 HSPF. With Trane TruComfort™ technology, the 20-SEER heat pump automatically adjusts itself while maintaining constant and consistent speeds to avoid temperature swings.
ComfortLink II communicating capability
ComfortLink II communicating technology (available when matched with communicating indoor units) connects all of your key components so your system automatically configures and calibrates for optimal performance and efficiency through the lifetime of your products.
Durable, Quiet, and Economical
Rigorously tortured and tested for long-lasting durability, you can be sure this system will hold up to anything, without holding up your bank account. And with the quiet running fan, 4 dB below our competitor’s minimum, you can be sure you are getting the best all-around system for your home.