When it comes to heating and cooling your home, you want to make sure you’ll be comfortable and not drain your savings at the same time. You’ve likely heard about heat pumps and are now considering whether this would be the right move for your home. Discover the reasons a heat pump is perfect for warming your home over the Florida winters.

How Heating Generally Works

Before delving into heat pumps specifically, it’s important to recap how heating systems generally work. At the very basic level, heating systems draw air in from around your home, heat it, and push it back out.

To do this, it has to generate heat in some way, which traditional heating systems do with either an electric resistance heating element or by burning some fuel. Heat pumps are a completely different kind of system, working more like an air conditioner than traditional heating systems.

The Difference With Heat Pumps

Rather than generating heat, heat pumps simply transfer it, much like your air conditioner. Let’s explore how it works.

A heat pump works to absorb heat from the outside and bring it inside. This is the same process that’s used to cool your home over the summer. The refrigerant in the system gets cold and absorbs heat. It’s then compressed and vents the heat it’s absorbed. In an air conditioner, the cold low pressure happens inside, and the compression happens outside.

Heat pumps have a component a traditional AC does not: the reversing valve. This valve changes the direction the refrigerant flows. Heat pumps are specifically designed to allow the high-pressure part of the system to switch when the unit goes into heating versus cooling code.

To effectively heat your home, the refrigerant must achieve a temperature cooler than the outside air. As long as it does, it can draw heat from the outside air and bring it into your home. The circulating air then absorbs that heat and completes the rest of the heating process. There are several reasons why heat pumps are perfectly suited for keeping your home comfortable during the Florida winter.

Ideal Climate for Heat Pumps

The very first reason is that the climate in Florida is ideally suited for heat pumps. The greater the difference between the outside air and the refrigerant as it flows through the outside coil, the more heat it can absorb. When that difference shrinks, so does the efficiency heat pumps offer.

Heat pumps start losing their efficiency when the outside temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the outside temperature drops below 25 degrees, then the heat pump becomes less efficient than a traditional heating system. That’s why people with heat pumps in colder climates may opt to use a dual-fuel system, which has a traditional furnace that activates when the outside temperature drops far enough.

However, temperatures around Miramar don’t usually get cold enough to be a problem. Rather, January is generally the coldest month, with average overnight low temperatures hovering in the upper 50s. This is warm enough to continue heating your home without affecting the efficiency.

Better Efficiency

Speaking of efficiency, that’s another reason why heat pumps are perfectly suited for Florida winters. Generally speaking, fuel-burning furnaces are more cost-effective than electric resistance heaters. This is because the fuels burned in a furnace generally cost less than the electricity to power an electric resistance heater. However, those fuel-burning furnaces lose a lot of heat through the exhaust, which means that you’re paying to create heat and send it outside.

Heat pumps don’t have that same energy loss, which makes them significantly more efficient than traditional heaters. According to the Department of Energy, air source heat pumps can reduce your energy consumption by 50% compared to electric resistance heaters. Some industry estimates suggest that a heat pump can transfer 300% more energy than it consumes. Compare that to the expensive high-efficiency furnaces that transfer about 98% of the heat it creates. That’s a massive difference when it comes to the cost of heating your home.

Fewer Repairs

Another key aspect Floridians appreciate about heat pumps over traditional heating systems is the reduced maintenance and repair. When you have a separate heater and air conditioner, you have two different systems to maintain, repair, and eventually replace. A heat pump brings all of that into one system.

Consider that the average air conditioner lasts about 10 to 15 years, and a furnace usually around 15 to 20 years. This means that you’ll need to replace both systems within about 5 years of each other. Repairs tend to increase over the last two years of an HVAC system’s service life. That means that you potentially have about seven years where you’re seeing increased repairs and two to five years where those repairs overlap. If you have component failures on both systems in the same year, your annual repair costs just skyrocketed.

When you run a single system, you don’t have to worry about trying to keep more than one functioning. Rather, when you have maintenance, you’ll know what repairs are needed, and you can better plan those repairs for the entire year.

Less Risk of Air Quality Hazards

Florida is notorious for air quality issues, including natural allergens, humidity, and airborne salt. However, complicating these airborne hazards are the contaminants associated with the heating system itself.

When you burn a fuel, the exhaust becomes part of the contaminant equation. One of the major contaminant concerns is the carbon monoxide produced as a byproduct. When the furnace is operating properly, this gas exhausts outside without a problem. However, if there’s a crack in the heat exchanger, then it will leak this toxic gas into your home, risking your family’s health.

Being a heat pump doesn’t burn fuel, it doesn’t produce any carbon monoxide, removing the risk entirely. Granted, the refrigerant is toxic if it leaks, but it is much less common with heat pumps than carbon monoxide leaks are with furnaces.

Better Home Comfort

The goal of heating your home is both to keep you safe from cold weather outside and to keep you comfortable. The way a traditional heating system runs is to turn on high and run a cycle that usually lasts between 10 and 15 minutes. However, with this mode of operation, your home is allowed to go through a cycle where it heats up and then cools down only to heat back up again with the next cycle. This leaves your home constantly fluctuating between being too warm and too cool.

A heat pump works a little differently, especially if you have a multi-stage compressor with a variable-speed circulating fan. This allows the system to run at a lower capacity and circulate less air per minute. This allows for more of a constant stream of warm air to circulate through your home. Unlike a furnace, a heat pump running longer at a lower setting actually saves money compared to running it at the highest setting and running cycles.

When people around Miramar need heating and cooling installation, maintenance, or repair they can trust, they turn to Quality Air Of America. Our team combines this expertise with indoor air quality solutions to make your home both comfortable and healthy throughout the year. Call to schedule your consultation with one of our heat pump experts today.

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