Heat Pumps – Efficient Operation Year Round

June 6, 2016

By now, you know the efficiency and performance of your home’s HVAC system is dependent on a number of factors. These include everything from how the system is sized for your home to how well equipment is maintained. One aspect we haven’t really mentioned is how climate plays a role. In Virginia, we have what’s referred to as a “goldilocks” climate—one of few states in the region with such a unique environment. Fairly mild—not too hot and not too cold—means we depend equally on moderate heating and cooling throughout the year. For many residential customers in our service area, heat pumps are the most efficient and economical way to achieve this task.

How does a heat pump work?

Unlike furnaces and air conditioners that work together to provide heating and cooling, heat pumps pack both functions into one. The operation is similar to your refrigerator—heat pumps use electricity to remove hot and cold air depending on the system setting. During the cooling season, heat pumps take cool air from the outdoors and move it inside. When the system is set to heat, the equipment moves warm air from outside and brings it inside to heat your home.  The difference between heat pumps and other heating equipment is that they move heat rather than generate it.  

Heat Pump


Heat pumps are preferred across the country—and in Central Virginia

Whether you’re purchasing equipment for a new house, or replacing an old unit, you’re probably considering a heat pump. These powerhouses have quickly become one of the more popular choices–highly energy efficient operation for heating and cooling in residential applications. Here’s why…

High efficiency

When sized properly for the home, most heat pump applications are significantly more energy efficient than a furnace. That’s because heat pumps are the source for both home heating and cooling. Another distinctive property—they capture and move heat that already exists to heat and cool without the need to burn fuel or use electrical heating elements. Unlike other types of heating equipment, a heat pump only has to generate heat on its own when temperatures drop unusually low.  

Low cost of operation

Although it depends on your area, generally speaking, electricity costs less than gas. Consequently, even if the investment in equipment fluctuates, an electric heat pump system will cost less to operate than a gas-fired furnace. According to the DOE, heat pumps can deliver 1½-3x more heat energy to a home than the electrical energy it consumes, saving nearly 30-40% on electricity costs.

Environmentally friendly

Heat pumps also rate highly on the eco-friendly scale.  Since they don’t burn fossil fuels, there are no greenhouse gases and other toxic fumes produced in their operation. Their high efficiency rating reduces demand on local utility companies, which can result in decreased air pollution and greenhouse gases emissions in your area. Heat pumps are not only clean, but highly safe to operate—there’s no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, and no need for a CO2 detector.

Quiet operation

You’re familiar with the everyday sounds of our HVAC system. But, just like every piece of equipment is different, so are their levels of noise.  If your home has a heat pump, you’re probably aware of the slow hum and quiet vibration. Heat pumps run very quietly, but the amount of noise you hear can vary based on where the equipment is located. In comparison to other types of equipment, especially furnaces, heat pumps eliminate nearly all loud noise.

Related:  Why is my air compressor making noise?

A system that’s just right for your family

If you’re in the market for new equipment, switching to a heat pump system might be the best option for you in terms of performance and efficiency. Of course, it depends on a number of other factors like your current system, size of home, and your heating and cooling needs. Allow the professionals and experienced technicians at Dominion Service Company help you decide what’s best for you and your family. To learn more about installation and equipment options, contact DSCR today at 800-832-0758.