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Can Heat Pumps Handle Freezing Cold Temperatures?

Can Heat Pumps Handle Freezing Cold Temperatures?

Heat pumps (HPs) are a cost-effective option for more efficient heating and cooling in Douglasville, GA. Yet, many people think HPs don’t work well in colder climates. The reality is that they are a viable option when temperatures dip below freezing. Here’s what you need to know about cold-climate heat systems.

How Heat Pumps Work in Colder Climates

There are a couple different types of heat pumps, one being an air-source heat pump (ASHP) and the other a ground-source heat pump. ASHPs are more common because of the ease of installation and affordability. They use ambient air as a heat source and heat sink. Heat pumps work similarly to AC systems when they operate in cooling mode.

Yet, when an ASHP heats a home, it relies on the outdoor air to heat and compress the refrigerant to make the gas hotter. The heated air is released indoors to heat your home through an indoor unit or ductwork. HP technology has significantly improved over the years, allowing these systems to perform better, especially in colder climates. Here are some of the ways modern HPs have improved:

  • Better coil designs & compressors
  • Improved motors
  • Highly efficient fans

Factors to Consider When Installing an ASHP

An ASHP can handle freezing temperatures. Some models can even handle temperatures below -20°F. Living in the greater metro area, you don’t have to worry about sub-zero temperatures, but this region of the country still gets cold during the winter. Here are some key factors that influence an ASHP installation:

  • The Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) determines ASHP efficiency & ASHPs transfer significantly more energy than they consume
  • The higher the HSPF, the greater the efficiency
  • Cold-climate heat pumps have an HSPF of 10 or greater

Many cold-climate HPs operate with up to 400% efficiency. However, the colder the climate, the harder the heat pump must work to produce heated air. Deciding on a heating system for your home requires careful consideration. To learn more about heat pumps and other heating systems, call Merrell & Associates to speak with one of our qualified service technicians.

Image provided by iStock

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