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Serving the Greater New Braunfels, TX Area

Serving the Greater New Braunfels, TX Area

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Are Heat Pumps Viable Options for Our Climate?

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When it’s time to replace part of your HVAC system, either the air conditioner or the heater, you have more options than to make a simple swap-out. You can take out both comfort systems and replace them with a single new installation, a heat pump.

If you know anything about heat pumps, it’s that they are capable of working as both cooling and heating systems. That’s a great benefit, but it also makes potential buyers cautious. Does a heat pump sacrifice some of its cooling power to also work as a heater? And since it resembles an air conditioning system, can it ever deliver enough heat to keep a home comfortable?

We’ll answer these questions below. (Spoilers: heat pumps work great at both heating and cooling for our climate!)

The Heat Pump in Action

A breakdown of basic heat pump operation:

Think of a standard split system air conditioner, like the one you currently have for your house. It circulates refrigerant using a compressor, and the refrigerant transfers heat from inside the air of the house and deposits it outside. It uses two sets of refrigerant coils to do this job: the cold refrigerant travels through the indoor coil to absorb heat, and the hot refrigerant travels through the outdoor coil to release heat.

To understand a heat pump, you only have to think about reversing this process. If the refrigerant travels the reverse direction, the cold refrigerant moves through the outdoor coil and absorbs heat, and hot refrigerant moves through the indoor coil and releases it. A heat pump is constructed with a reversing valve to change refrigerant direction so the system can change from acting as an air conditioner to acting as a heater.

The Heating Mode Conundrum

You may have detected something odd about that description. When in heating mode, the heat pump is drawing the heat it will use for the house from the outdoor air. How is this possible when a heat pump will only run in heating mode when the outside weather is cold?

Just because the weather is cold doesn’t mean there’s no heat energy in the air—there’s only less heat energy. As long as the refrigerant running through the outdoor coil is colder than the air outside, the heat pump will absorb heat. It may struggle in temperatures that are below freezing, which is why heat pumps sold in colder climates often have a backup heater. But here in Texas, the winter chill almost never gets that bad and a heat pump can manage home comfort all through the season without losing efficiency.

In fact, even in northern climates, heat pumps can work well. As technology improves, heat pumps are able to deal with lower and lower temperatures.

Call Us for Heat Pump Installation

We’re the people to call for New Braunfels, TX heat pump services. We’ll see that you have the right unit and that it will ensure you have problem-free heating and cooling throughout the year. If you’re replacing an electric furnace, you’ll find your new heat pump will help you save during the winter.

At Thayer Air Conditioning, Your Comfort Is Our #1 Priority. Call us—we’re already on our way!

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