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Heat Pumps are used in climates with moderate heating and cooling needs and are ideally suited for such regions as Piedmont North Carolina, especially the counties of Union, Mecklenburg and Cabarrus, located midway between the blistering heat of south Florida and the sub-freezing winters of faraway Maine.  The heat pump offers an energy-efficient alternative to conventional fuel-fired furnaces and unattached central air conditioning systems or unattached air conditioning window units.

The heat pump works on the same principle as a refrigerator.  It uses electricity to pump or move heat from a cool space into a warm space, making the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer. During summer months, the heat pump acts exactly like your refrigerator moving hot air from the inside to the outside lowering the temperature and cooling your home.  In the winter months, the heat pump reverses itself, pumping heat from the outside and moving it inside to raise the temperature and warm your home.  Because it moves heat rather than generating heat from burning fuel or heating elements, the heat pump can provide up to 4 times the amount of energy it actually consumes.


The most common type heat pump is the air-source heat pump, sometimes referred to as a forced-air heat pump.  It merely transfers heat: from the inside to the outside or from the outside to the inside.  If you're currently heating your home with an electric furnace or fuel-fired furnace, an energy efficient heat pump can reduce your monthly energy bills by as much as thirty to forty percent.  In the summer months, these high-efficiency heat pumps also dehumidify better than a standard central air conditioner, resulting in less energy usage while providing more cooling comfort.
When the outdoor temperature falls below 40F, a less-efficient panel of electric resistance coils or heat strips, similar to those in your bread toaster, is activated to provide for indoor heating.  In place of electric resistance coils, some heat pumps incorporate gas-fired backup burners to generate emergency heat.  This is why the air-source heat pump is not recommended for regions known for severe winter weather conditions where prolonged periods of below-freezing temperatures are common.  Once again, the air source heat pump is ideally suited for the mild climate of Central Piedmont, North Carolina.

Not so far in the distant past, heat pumps could be used only in homes and businesses outfitted and equipped with ductwork, installed either overhead or underneath the living/working area.

This network of ducts, known as supply and return, was necessary for moving heat - transferring it outside in the summer months and bringing it inside during the winter months.  Nowadays, air-source heat pumps are also available in a ductless version, commonly referred to as a "mini-split heat pump".  Ducted heat pumps are still recommended for accessible areas but let's face it: some areas of your home or business are just simply off-limits and impossible to reach with ductwork.  For those areas, a ductless mini-split heat pump will solve your heating and cooling dilemma. For more information on these ductless mini-split air-source heat pumps, please visit the various pages on my Helmsway Intranet by clicking , here, here, or here.


Jeff Helms doing
Heating and Air Conditioning the

Monroe, North Carolina
NC HVAC License # 28630



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