Heat pumps are slowly gaining ground as primary choices for home heating systems across the country. However, there are still a lot of facts about how they work that most homeowners don’t know. One of those facts is that there are actually many different kinds of heat pumps. In this article, however, we’re going to be talking about the two most popular types: air source and geothermal.
Air Source Heat Pumps
Air source heat pumps are called such because they draw thermal energy from the air around themselves in order to heat the home. Air source heat pumps are primarily comprised of two units, an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. As you might expect, the indoor unit is installed inside the home while the outdoor unit is installed outside. These two units are connected by a conduit, inside which is a number of power and refrigerant lines.
When the heat is turned on, the outdoor unit begins evaporating refrigerant inside a coil housed inside the casing. This siphons thermal energy from the surrounding air and into the gaseous refrigerant inside the coil. The refrigerant gas, now full of thermal energy, is then sent to the indoor unit. The indoor unit uses its own coil to condense the refrigerant back into a liquid. This releases the thermal energy to heat the house.
Geothermal Heat Pumps
Air source heat pumps are great for a lot of reasons, but they do have one weakness. By relying out the outside air, the heat pump is relying on a heat source that can and does change all the time with the weather. In areas with a particularly cold climate, an air source heat pump can struggle with the lack of thermal energy available in the air. A geothermal heat pump is meant to solve this problem.
A geothermal heat pump does not rely on the air for its heat. Instead, it uses a wide pipe loop buried between 10 and 15 feet belowground. This pipe loop is filled with water or refrigerant, and absorbs the temperature of the surrounding environment. That far belowground, the temperature is a fairly constant 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit, regardless of the weather above ground. In this way, the geothermal heat pump can make use of a renewable heat source without ever being affected by weather conditions outside.
If you’d like to know more about heat pump types, call Ace Air Conditioning. We provide heat pump services throughout the Atwater area.