Orange County is blessed with nearly year-round sunshine and warmth. However, the winters can be very chilly.
If you’re considering upgrading your home’s HVAC system and looking for options for heating and cooling, you may have seen heat pumps. These units not only heat your home in the winter, but they can be used for air conditioning in summer.
But will do heat pumps work in Orange County? Is it the best choice for your home? Take a look at what a heat pump has to offer.
What is a Heat Pump?
Preferred for mild climates, a heat pump is an energy-efficient option for heating and cooling. Because a heat pump only moves heat from one place to another, they don’t use as much energy as other types of heating and cooling.
The “heat pump” is a bit of a misnomer, however. They don’t actually pump heat into your home or out of it. Instead, they transfer heat, so they can maximize the indoor or outdoor heat that occurs during the seasons. This is why heat pumps are only suitable for mild or moderate climates.
A heater converts energy directly into heat for your home. Heat pumps don’t need to use that energy. Instead, they transfer heat from the air inside your home to the outdoors, or from the outdoors in, to provide heating and cooling.
How Does a Heat Pump Work?
Heat pumps are simple and optimize the natural transfer of thermal energy. The components include an indoor unit and an outdoor unit with sub-components.
The indoor unit has a coil and a fan. The coil acts as both a condenser and an evaporator, depending on the mode, and the fan circulates air across the coil. The outdoor unit also has a coil and a fan, which serve the same purposes.
Refrigerant is a necessary component to block or absorb heat as it circulates through the pump. The compressor pressurizes the refrigerant.
The key component of the unit is the reversing valve, which is what separates the function of the heat pump from the air conditioner. The heat pump can heat and cool, thanks to the reversing valve that releases the flow of refrigerant.
Finally, there’s the expansion valve, which is used to regulate the flow of the refrigerant to make sure it’s kept at the optimal lower pressure and temperature.
Heat pumps use the natural transfer of thermal energy to heat and cool. Heated air naturally seeks out cooler, lower-pressure environments to remove itself from the hot, pressurized areas. The heat pump facilitates this by providing access between the heated area and the cooler area.
That’s how it works for cooling. For heating, the reversing valve switches the flow of the refrigerant, which brings the heated air from outside to inside to warm up your home.
Advantages of a Heat Pump in Orange County
Orange County, like the rest of Southern California, has a lovely climate all year round. Both winters and summers are mild, which is perfect for a heat pump.
The heat pump acts like an air conditioner and circulates refrigerant to transfer heat from one area to another, including indoor areas to outdoor areas or outdoor areas to indoor areas. This is why they’re perfect for mild climates.
An air conditioner can only transfer heat in one way – inside to outside – to cool a room down. The heat pump can conduct both heating and cooling in any season. Because Orange County doesn’t experience significant temperature extremes, residents here enjoy ultra-efficient heating and cooling from a heat pump.
In areas with extreme subzero temperatures or hot, humid summers, a heat pump isn’t the ideal choice for efficiency or comfort. In fact, it could lose efficiency and performance over time from working too hard to heat or cool your home.
Disadvantages of Heat Pump in Orange County
Though there are numerous advantages to a heat pump, it’s not a universal solution to heating and cooling. Some climates, locations, homes, or homeowners need the capabilities of a full HVAC system, rather than a heat pump designed for a mild climate.
In addition, if you already have an HVAC system with a gas-powered furnace that heats your home, you may be better served with an air conditioner and furnace instead of a heat pump. You can upgrade the air conditioner only, saving yourself the upgrade costs for a heat pump that you won’t be able to use fully.
Remember, the upfront costs of a heat pump aren’t cheap. Though they pay off in reduced utility bills, it only makes sense to invest in them if you can gain the full benefits. Otherwise, opt for an HVAC system or upgrade only your furnace or air conditioner.
If you’re ready to make a change with your HVAC system, contact the pros at Service Champions!