Everyone wants to make their home environment comfortable through means of different products. Heat pumps and air conditioners play vital role in this regard. Most of us are already aware with air conditioners but heat pump is still a new concept for many of us. Although, air conditioners are also a specific type of heat pump used to heat or cool the environment.
Heat pumps actually provide a very pocket friendly and efficient substitute to the traditional furnace based heating or cooling systems and air conditioners. Heat pumps work on the simple phenomenon of refrigerators. They move heat from one place to another place and convert it into heat energy through electricity. They only move the heat from one place to another place; Therefore, they consume very less electricity as compared to traditional air conditioners. Heat pumps can be used for both heating and cooling purposes.
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Types of Heat Pumps
Heat pumps come in very different types but the two basic types you will find in variance are as follows.
- Air Source Heat Pumps
As the name imply, air source heat pumps use air to move heat from one place to another. Air source heat pumps get air from the outside environment and convert the heat in that air to heat energy through electricity. After that this heat energy is moved inside your house through pumps. Residential and commercial air conditioners are an example of air source heat pumps that are able to both heat and cool the inside environment of a home or building.
Air source heat pumps are said to be very energy efficient. According to a study, they consume very less electricity therefore they are able to reduce your electricity bills by nearly 50%. Their maintenance is also very easy and inexpensive. They are easy to install and can be placed anywhere outside the building or home. Their initial cost is also low as compared to other air conditioning or heating systems.
Air source heat pumps however have a major shortcoming. They cannot work in extremely cold weather conditions. When the outside air becomes very cold, air source heat pump’s performance decreases. Therefore, they are not considered suitable for extremely cold climates.
- Ground Source Heat Pumps
Second major type of heat pumps is ground source heat pumps. These pumps work by transferring heat from the ground to your house. Ground source heat pumps actually utilize the thermal energy present at the core of the ground. One major advantage of this type of heat pumps is that they provide constant service. They are not weather reliant as in the case of air source heat pumps. The earth’s core has a steady temperature around the year.
This makes the functioning of ground source heat pumps easier and more efficient. They can work perfectly well in even extreme weather conditions. However, in this case the installation is much difficult and requires special machines and professionals because the ground needs excavation and installation of underground pipes. The initial cost is higher but it proves to be less expensive in the long run due to its high efficiency and long-term service providing feature. Ground source heat pumps are said to reduce your energy utilization by 30%-60%.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Heat Pumps
Following is a list of advantages and disadvantages of heat pumps.
Advantages of Heat Pumps
- Maintenance Cost is Low
Maintenance cost of heat pump is much lower as compared to traditional air conditioners and furnace-based systems. A yearly checkup of the system by you is enough. However, check up by professionals is required only after every 3-5 years.
- Safer Than Other Systems
Heat pumps are a safe option as compared to traditional combustion-based systems that use fuel or oil to process. Heat pumps use electricity to operate therefore, there are less security apprehension related to heat pumps as compared to traditional systems.
- Long Life
Heat pumps have a long-life span as compared to their competitors. They generally have a life span of 14-15 years. But they are also said to have a life span of as long as 50 years!!
- Less Carbon Emissions
Carbon emissions from a heat pump are very low. They use electricity to operate therefore, carbon emissions are less as compared to other system that are based on burning fuel or oil.
- Energy Efficient
Heat pumps are very energy efficient and reliable. For producing 3-4 units of energy they only consume 1 unit of electricity. Thus, reducing your electricity bills and saves you a lot of energy. They are also less expensive to operate as compared to other combustion-based systems.
Disadvantages of Heat Pumps
- High Initial Cost
Initial cost of heat pumps is higher than the traditional systems. They save you a lot in the long run regarding energy bills but they cost you much in the start. Therefore, it considered a major drawback of heat pumps.
- Complex Installation Process
Heat pumps have a very complex installation process because proper research and study is required before installing a heat pump. Especially ground source heat pumps installation process is very tricky and expensive because it requires excavation and underground installation of pipes.
- Not Considered Eco Friendly
Some of the fluids used in the functioning of heat pumps are not reliable regarding the ecological concerns. That is why they are not considered eco-friendly.
- Special Permit Requirements
In some countries around the world, special permissions are required before installing a heat pump at your property.
With every passing day, heat pumps are proving to be more energy efficient, reliable, less expensive and easy to maintain solutions for your property. But there are also some drawbacks attached with the heat pumps like high initial cost or special permission requirements. Still heat pumps usage is increasing day by day. That is why they are becoming more famous than the traditional air conditioners or combustion-based systems.
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