Folks outside the Lone Star State may not often think of Texans as having a need for heat. But anyone who’s experienced a chilly January night knows that winter may not be as severe here, but it can still get pretty darn frosty! Depending on where you live, and how your home is designed, you may have either a gas furnace or a heat pump.
Today, we’d like to talk about how a heat pump is a smart choice for a lot of folks who call Texas home.
Heat Pumps: How Do They Work?
You might be surprised to discover that even air you think of as “cold” is full of energy. This energy can be harvested and converted to heat, which can then be transported efficiently for climate control.
Moving, rather than generating, heat is the distinguishing characteristic of a heat pump. It takes the energy out of the air, converts it to heat, and either moves that heat to where it’s needed (Winter) or carries it away to lower the ambient temperature (Summer).
A heat pump system has two main components: an air handler, which delivers the air inside the home, and an external unit which is actually known as the heat pump. A compressor inside the heat pump circulates liquid refrigerant that absorbs or releases heat as needed as the liquid moves between the two components.
Because it’s powered by electricity and doesn’t have to generate the heat it uses, a heat pump can form the main component of a very efficient HVAC system for your home. Systems like these can do double duty as heaters and air conditioners, which means you can save big, depending on how warm or cold you like to keep your home. A mini-split system is a great example of a heat pump system used to help control the temperature in your home.
Texas is Heat Pump Heaven
Because it has relatively mild winters compared to more frigid climes, many parts of Texas are ideal for harnessing the heat pump’s maximum efficiency in temperate climates. And they’re available in a variety of formats; some use the heat in the air, but you can also get liquid and geo-thermal models for homes that can take advantage of these resources.
Some heat pumps are even gas-fired, which increases their portability and compatibility with homes that already have natural gas connections but not electricity—an uncommon, but certainly not unheard of, configuration. Also known as absorption heat pumps, some models can also be powered by solar electricity, which provides a powerful incentive if you’re building or upgrading your home for both maximum efficiency and earth-friendliness. (And with an average of 90-160 sunshine-filled days a year, Texas cities are a great place to harness the power of the sun!)
The Department of Energy says heat pumps can experience occasional performance issues related to leaky ducts, low airflow, and incorrectly filled coolant reserves, so always be sure to talk to a home heating and cooling professional when considering your options.
Are you looking to save money and gain tighter control over your home heating and cooling? Then a heat pump—whether it’s a mini-split, air-cycling, geo-thermal, or gas-fired—might be right for you! Reach out to your local HVAC expert today, and find out if a heat pump system is right for your home, lifestyle, and budget.