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Is a Heat Pump Effective for Winter Heating?

When it comes to providing comfort throughout the year, a heat pump is an excellent installation option. Heat pumps work in a manner almost identical to air conditioners: they circulate refrigerant between an indoor and outdoor unit, moving heat from one location and releasing it in the other. When set in “cooling” mode, the heat pump absorbs heat from the indoors and releases it outdoors, the same as an air conditioner. In “heating” mode, a reversing valve in the system switches the direction of heat exchange, and the heat pump absorbs heat from the outdoors and then releases it indoors.

However, this description of the way a heat pump works often prompts the question from homeowners: “If I’m using a heat pump to warm my house during cold weather, how is the heat pump drawing heat from outside?” This causes some people concern about whether a heat pump is an effective option for home heating in Fresno, CA.

We understand where this concern comes from, but for many homes a heat pump is more than sufficient for delivering comfort through a Fresno winter. If you want advice from professionals who can tell you if installing a heat pump is a good option for your house, call at Purl’s Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning.

Here is what to consider when thinking about heat pumps in heating mode: there is always some heat available in the outside air, regardless of how low the temperature is. It becomes more difficult for a heat pump to efficiently remove that heat from the outdoor air during extremely low temperatures; however, the temperature must usually fall below freezing before this problem with inefficient operation starts. The average low temperature in Fresno during the two coldest months of the year is 38°F, still above freezing. In homes with effective insulation, a heat pump can usually handle the winter weather without losing its efficient performance.

You should definitely consult with heating and cooling professionals before you settle on a heat pump for installation. (And you should never attempt to install a heat pump on your own, anyway.) Professionals will help you decide if a heat pump will provide the comfort level necessary, and then size and install it so that it works as it should.

Call Purl’s Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning for heat pump services. We have helped with cooling and heating in Fresno, CA since 1952, and we’re on call 7 days a week for your convenience.

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