As we get to the “chilly” months in New Braunfels, Texas, we see more and more people flipping on their heat pumps just before bed and turning them off in the morning. Unsure what the heck we’re talking about? For those of you that may not have grown up with this technology or are just all-around unfamiliar with heat pumps, let us explain.
How, What, & Why: All You Need to Know About Heat Pumps
First things first: If you haven’t ever heard of a heat pump, then you’re likely not a New Braunfels native – and that’s okay, we’re happy to have you. Still, if you plan to stay here for the foreseeable future, you should have a general understanding of what a heat pump is and why your future New Braunfels home may come equipped with one.
Refrigerating Your Home
Whenever anyone asks what a heat pump is, the most common answer is usually along the lines of “it’s like a refrigerator for your home.” Unfortunately, however, you cannot expect the same results from a heat pump as you would from a refrigerator; the conditions are just too different. However, it is worth noting that to get the most out of a heat pump, your home should take a few pointers from refrigerators by improving your home’s natural refrigeration, including the following:
- The insulation of your home should be as close to perfect as you can possibly get it
- Energy efficient windows and doors are highly recommended
- Under floor heating makes a great pairing with a heat pump during the cooler months
- Keep windows and doors closed as much as possible
- Fans that circulate air downward can also help to funnel warm air to the heat pump during the warmer months
How Heat Pumps Actually Work
Comparing a heat pump to a refrigerator is accurate in the sense that the pump itself transfers heat from one area to another, as a refrigerator does. The major difference between a heat pump and a refrigerator, other than pure scale, is that a heat pump can be used to bring heat into or out of your home, making it an invaluable resource for days that are just a little too cool or too warm. It does get a bit more complicated, however, as there are three main types of heat pumps:
Often just called air source heat pumps, are the newest form of the technology, and are also the most affordable. While they aren’t quite as efficient or effective as the other two, an air-to-air heat pump can be installed and maintained for relatively little cost – they are even available in window units! In New Braunfels, many homes use air-to-air pumps to warm their homes during the relatively mild winters, but often in conjunction with impressive energy efficiency or additional space heaters.
The next step up from air-to-air heat pumps are the geothermal, or ground, source pumps. These pumps use heat from within the Earth to cool homes in the colder months and transfer heat into the Earth during the warmer months. It is worth noting that ground source heat pumps are often considered the middle of the two options, but can rival water source heat pumps in efficiency under the right conditions. Also, ground source pumps aren’t right for every location, as air-to-air pumps are, so you will need to consult with a professional before considering installation.
The most efficient and effective of the major three heat pump types is a water source pump. While geothermal pumps can technically use a subterranean water source, the actual name of water source is reserved for a flowing water source. So, obviously, these can’t be installed everywhere. While they are considered the most efficient, water source pumps are very rare in this area and considered incredibly expensive where applicable.
Why Heat Pumps in New Braunfels?
There is a reason that people in New Braunfels are more accustomed to the idea of a heat pump than those that are from anywhere more than a couple hundred miles to the north. For starters, we have a very high reliance upon air conditioners, but almost no need for heating furnaces. So, many homes in New Braunfels have no furnace at all, opting for a heat pump to warm up their home in the winter. Obviously, a system that pulls from the outside temperature will struggle to do so with temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, which is considered a fairly rare occurrence here.
Mild winters aren’t the only reason we see heat pumps in New Braunfels, however. Many homeowners choose to rarely run their home’s air conditioning or forgo a forced air system altogether, relying upon a heat pump and localized air conditioning, such as a window or interior unit. While this extreme is uncommon, there are a tremendous number of warm days in which air conditioning is not entirely necessary, which makes the more energy-efficient heat pump a more enticing option. To put it plainly: Homeowners here can find a use for their heat pump year round, during the cooler months, or through half or more of the year, should they choose to.
Your New Braunfels Heat Pump Pros
At Legacy Heating and Air Conditioning, we specialize in any systems that help to cool or heat homes in New Braunfels. While a vast majority of our calls are for air conditioning service and repair, we do take care of – and install – a great number of heat pumps in the local area. With the advent of new technology, heat pumps have become much more efficient and effective at transferring heat into and out of your home; when coupled with other energy efficient homebuilding and home improvement techniques, a heat pump is a great solution for many local families. Find out if a heat pump or forced air system will work better for your New Braunfels home, and get friendly, professional installation from our team today!