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A dual-fuel heat pump works in conjunction with a furnace. During the summer months, the heat pump works like a high-efficiency central air conditioner. In mild spring and fall weather, it provides cost- effective and efficient heat. As the temperatures drop in the winter months, the pump shuts off and lets your furnace take over.
As long as the temperature outside is above 35°F or so, a heat pump can pull heat from the outside air for less than it costs to fire up the furnace. The furnace kicks in for only the coldest months. Heat pumps save energy because transferring heat is easier than making it. Surprisingly, even when it feels cold outside, there is still a decent amount of heat waiting to be pumped. Under ideal conditions, a heat pump can transfer 300 percent more energy than it consumes. In contrast, a high-efficiency gas furnace is about 90 percent efficient.*
When properly installed and functioning, a heat pump can help maintain cool, comfortable temperatures while reducing humidity levels inside your home.Warm air from the inside of your house is pulled into ductwork by a motorized fan. A compressor circulates refrigerant between the indoor evaporator and outdoor condensing units. The warm air indoor air then travels to the air handler while refrigerant is pumped from the exterior condenser coil to the interior evaporator coil. The refrigerant absorbs the heat as it passes over the indoor air. This cooled and dehumidified air is then pushed through connecting indoor ducts to air vents throughout the home, lowering the interior temperature. The refrigeration cycle continues again, providing a consistent method to keep you cool.
Heat pumps have been used for many years in locations that typically experience milder winters. However, air-source heat pump technology has advanced, enabling these systems to be used in areas with extended periods of subfreezing temperatures.
A heat pump can switch from air condition mode to heat mode by reversing the refrigeration cycle, making the outside coil function as the evaporator and the indoor coil as the condenser. The refrigerant flows through a closed system of refrigeration lines between the outdoor and the indoor unit. Although outdoor temperatures are cold, enough heat energy is absorbed from the outside air by the condenser coil and release inside by the evaporator coil. Air from the inside of your house is pulled into ductwork by a motorized fan. The refrigerant is pumped from the interior coil to the exterior coil, where it absorbs the heat from the air. This warmed air is then pushed through connecting ducts to air vents throughout the home, increasing the interior temperature. The refrigeration cycle continues again, providing a consistent method to keep you warm.