For individuals who live in Billings, MT, it’s common to experience a relatively moderate climate. When it comes to heating and cooling your home, a heat pump may be a good option. While you may know what a furnace is, there may be some questions that remain as to what a heat pump is all about.
What Is a Heat Pump?
A heat pump is an energy-efficient alternative to a furnace or air conditioner. The principles of how a heat pump functions can be compared to those of a refrigerator. Like a refrigerator, a heat pump uses electricity to move heat from a warm space into a cool space. During the winter, the heat pump moves warm air from outside into the home. The heat pump moves warm air from inside to the outdoors during the summer. Because a heat pump functions by transferring heat as opposed to generating it, it can be very energy efficient.
Two Basic Types of Heat Pumps
There are two common types of heat pumps: air-source and ground-source heat pumps. An air source heat pump transfers heat between indoor air and outdoor air. Residential cooling and heating often utilize these popular options.
A ground-source heat pump, also known as a geothermal heat pump, transfers heat between indoor air and the ground outside. Although ground-source heat pumps can be slightly more expensive due to the installation process, they have a lower operating cost because the ground maintains a consistent temperature throughout the year. Consequently, the heat pump doesn’t need to fluctuate its energy usage to keep your home warm or cool.
How Do Heat Pumps Perform in Montana Winters?
Many people wonder how a heat pump can transfer heat from outdoors to indoors when the outdoor temperature is very low. Surprisingly, the outdoor air contains a considerable amount of heat, even in the middle of winter. A heat pump can absorb enough heat to warm your home, even when the outdoor temperature is as low as 5°F.
A good way to understand this process is to think about a bicycle pump. Releasing air from the tires makes the air feel cold, but increasing the pressure makes the tire feel hot. Similarly, in a heat pump, when the refrigerant changes from liquid to gas and vice versa, there’s a noticeable temperature change.
For example, as low-pressure liquid refrigerant passes through the outdoor condenser coils, it absorbs ambient heat from the outdoor environment. This heat causes the refrigerant to boil, creating a low-pressure vapor. The vaporized refrigerant then goes to the condenser, where it’s pressurized, increasing its temperature.
Hot, pressurized refrigerant travels to the indoor heat exchanger. This is where it heats the air blown over the exchanger. During this process, the pressurized refrigerant loses heat and returns from being a gas to a liquid. It is then transported outside, and the cycle repeats.
However, heat pumps are less effective when temperatures dip below freezing. If extreme cold lasts only a day or two, an emergency heating system can work with your heat pump to keep your home warm.
The Benefits of Using a Heat Pump
Using heat pump technology in your home offers an effective, economical, and environmentally friendly way to heat your home. The main source of heat generation comes from the environment itself, significantly reducing the energy needed compared to other methods. This is one of the many benefits of using a heat pump.
Heat pumps boast low running costs, potentially lowering your household bills. They produce no emissions, operating on electricity and alternative sources like solar power. This makes them environmentally friendly compared to traditional heating systems.
Heat pumps eliminate the need for fuel delivery and storage in your home. This is a significant advantage, especially in off-the-grid areas that rely on alternative fuels like oil.
Additionally, heat pumps are extremely quiet, allowing them to be positioned relatively close to your home without causing major noise disruption. They offer flexibility, work well with underground heating and radiators, and perform effectively in both cold and warm seasons.
Enjoy Professional 24-Hour Service
At Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning, LLC, we are proud to be the leading HVAC company in Billings. Our services include HVAC installation, maintenance, and repair. We install fireplaces and offer air quality testing, air scrubbers, thermostats, and water detectors. Contact Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning, LLC today and see for yourself what it’s like to receive service with a smile.