Get Ready to Switch Your Heat Pumps to Heat Mode!

Posted On: October 05, 2012

A heat pump serves a dual purpose; it cools your home during the summertime and heats it during the cold Kansas City winter months. Since we’re in October, you should prepare to turn your heat pump on (if you haven’t done so already!). During the wintertime, heat pumps operate as a sort of reverse air conditioner, extracting heat from the cold air outside and releasing it inside the house. This allows heat pumps to operate more efficiently than gas furnaces. In fact, a high efficient heat pump with a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating of 19 or higher will produce more heat per dollar than a highly efficient gas furnace.

Heat pumps are becoming much more widespread here in the Kansas City area. While they aren’t that different from furnaces, there are some important distinctions that people in the market for a new heating and cooling system might not know about.

Can Heat Pumps Help You Save Money in the Winter?

One of the most common concerns we hear from people in the area is that their heat pumps don’t seem to be saving them as much money as they had expected or hoped for. When one of the experienced and qualified technicians here at Top Notch Heating, Cooling & Plumbing goes out to inspect the heat pump, it’s usually the same general finding – homeowners aren’t using their backup electric heater properly. We’ve seen Kansas City residents transition from gas furnaces to heat pumps only to accidentally rely primarily on their electric backup heater. What’s the problem with this? The electric backup is not very efficient and will cost more to operate, resulting in higher utility bills.

My Heat Pump is Blowing Cold Air

Another common concern we hear from Kansas City residents about their heat pump is that it seems to be blowing cold air. This doesn’t happen all that often here in the Kansas City area, but if it does, it doesn’t mean your heat pump is broken! One of the best characteristics of heat pumps is that, unlike furnaces, they don’t rely on periodic blasts of super hot air to heat your home whenever the temperature dips. Instead, they provide a steady stream of warmer air all day long.

If your heat pump is blowing air that really is cold, you don’t have to worry just yet. Roughly every hour, the heat defroster will kick on. This causes the heat pump to blow cold air into your house for a short period of time. Look at the heat pump – it’s defrosting if the machine is running but the fan isn’t blowing. When the frost thermostat is satisfied or a certain pre-determined time period passes, the outdoor fan comes back on, and the heat pump goes back into the heating cycle.

A common problem of many older heat pumps is that they will operate in the defrost cycle whether or not ice is present. On these systems, if it’s cold outside, the defrost cycle might turn on even when it’s not needed.

If you want to avoid these issues and install a new heat pump in Kansas City, please call Top Notch Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today!

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