Spring is the time for air conditioning replacement, and if you have an old system that you don’t think is going to make it through another long hot summer, now is the perfect time to get it replaced with a new one. While most of us are accustomed to traditional centralized air conditioners — and indeed such models make a fine choice for a replacement system — you might want to consider alternative options as well.
Heat pumps, in particular, can make a great fit for the right home, and if you’re looking for something to help with high bills in the winter and summer alike, it could be the perfect choice.
How Does It Work?
Heat pumps utilize the same basic principle as air conditioners: circulating refrigerant through a series of valves and coils that allow it to pull heat from the air. The refrigerant starts out in gaseous form, and first undergoes a shift to liquid form, undergoing a great deal of pressure in the process. That bleeds heat from the refrigerant, which is usually vented outside your home.
The pressurized liquid valve then passes through an expansion valve into the evaporator coils, where it shifts back to gaseous form. The process cools the air surrounding the coils, which can then be blown into your home with a fan. The refrigerant then returns to the start of the cycle to begin the process again: circulating over and over again as long as the air conditioner is operating.
Heat pumps use the same method to cool your home in the summer, only they add a little twist: a reversing switch that allows the process to reverse itself. Suddenly, the air is being cooled outside the home and the heat normally released outside is instead released inside. That allows the heat pump to act as both a heater and an air conditioner in one.
How Is That a Benefit?
Heat pumps perform well in the summertime as stand-alone air conditioners, and you can expect the same reliability and effectiveness as you would in a centralized system. The real benefits come in the winter, however. Because refrigerant is a renewable resource that doesn’t get consumed by the heating process the way gas or electricity does, heat pumps can warm your home at much lower cost than other forms of heating might.
Particularly cold days can present a problem to some heat pumps, which is why they’re often paired with a smaller furnace in what’s referred to as a hybrid unit. But the technology has become much more efficient in recent years, and even hybrid units can help you enjoy significant savings (to say nothing of reduced wear and tear) during our long New England winters.
If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner and you’re eyeing a new heating system as well, call on Cooling Unlimited Inc. to discuss your options with you. We install, repair, maintain and replace heat pumps throughout the Andover, MA area, and our trained team can help find he right system for you!