Virginia & Maryland Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing

How Heat Pumps Keep your Home Cool in the Summer

Do Heat Pumps Work in Hot Weather?

Perhaps due to the word “heat” in their name, many people are confused regarding what heat pumps are, how they work, and whether they provide both heat and cooling. Consequently, many people are surprised to learn that not only do heat pumps work year-round, but they also provide efficient, effective cooling in the summer. In fact, heat pumps are typically more energy-efficient and more environmentally friendly than a traditional air conditioner. Additionally, because they provide both heating and cooling, they are a great option for those looking to save space in their home.

Heat Pump Technology 101

Heat pumps are, in a sense, reversible air conditioners that transfer heat either inside or outside your home. There are two types of heat pumps: air-source heat pumps and ground-source (or geothermal) heat pumps. Air-source heat pumps pull heat from the air inside and outside your home, whereas ground-source models pull heat from the ground outside your home and the air inside. When installing a heat pump system, you will require an indoor and an outdoor unit, similar to a ductless mini-split AC system.

Regardless of the type of model you have, in the summer, your heat pump pulls the heat from inside your home and pushes it outside, making your home cooler. In the winter, it collects heat from outside and moves it inside, keeping your home warm.

Unlike furnaces, heat pumps do not burn fuel to generate heat. Consequently, they do not rely on natural gas or other fuel sources to run. This is what makes them more energy-efficient than traditional heating systems. While they use electricity, their power requirements are still less than a conventional furnace or boiler system.

Similar to more traditional systems, heat pumps do utilize a coil and a fan to operate. When in cooling mode, the coil functions as a condenser, and when in heating mode, it serves as an evaporator. The fan pushes the air over the coil to achieve the desired heat exchange inside or outside your home. Heat pumps also utilize refrigerant, compressors, and valves to operate and switch between heating and cooling modes.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Heat Pump This Summer

Though more commonly associated with heating in the winter, heat pumps are an excellent cooling option in the summer. Even in humid climates like ours, heat pumps perform well and can keep your home comfortable all season long. In fact, because they are so energy efficient, when relying on your heat pump year-round, you will likely save money on your monthly utility bills. You also don’t have to worry about heatwaves or sudden spikes in summer temperatures – heat pumps continue to cool efficiently even in high heat.

Keep reading for three helpful tips on how to get the most out of your heat pump this summer.

Tip #1: Do Not Rely on “Auto” Mode

Though “auto” mode is convenient and will allow your heat pump to switch back and forth between heating and cooling automatically, this can cause your system to run more often. This will require more power and end up costing you money. Meanwhile, as seasons change, your heat pump will try to work overtime to keep your home comfortable. This means that it may be cooling during the day, and then when the temperature drops at night, it’ll switch to heating mode. For most people, this back and forth between heating and cooling is unnecessary.

Instead, when you know you will not require heating for the rest of the season, switch the heat pump to its cooling mode and vice versa. Relatedly, you may find that the auto fan feature is too much, and you can therefore manually set the fan to a lower setting, keeping your home comfortable while using less power.

Tip #2: Keep Your Thermostat Settings Stable

With a conventional HVAC system, many people adjust their thermostat throughout the day and often change the temperature setting when they are away. While this is beneficial with traditional systems and can help them run more efficiently and save you money, you don’t have to do this with a heat pump. In fact, constantly changing the temperature on your thermostat can cause your heat pump to use more energy in the long run. It is better to set a comfortable temperature and then forget about it.

Tip #3: Have Your Heat Pump Serviced Yearly

Like all HVAC appliances, it is important that you schedule annual maintenance with a professional heat pump specialist, like ours at Donmar Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. In addition to thoroughly inspecting your unit, we will change filters, clean both the inside and outside unit, and confirm that your system operates at peak efficiency. If we uncover any repair issues, we will provide you with your repair options and help you get your system back up and running in no time.

To learn more about heat pumps or to schedule your annual heat pump maintenance, contact our office today. We are standing by.

For more tips on keeping your home cool without spending a fortune, review our blog post here.