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What Are the Different Types of Heat Pumps?

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Heat pumps are perfect for people looking for energy-efficient cooling in the summer and heating in the winter.

Unlike your traditional HVAC systems, heat pumps don’t generate heat or burn fossil fuels to run. Instead, they move hot air away from your home in the summer and bring in warm air in the winter. As a result, heat pumps can save you money and lower your carbon footprint.

What are the different types of heat pumps? As the top choice for heat pump installation in Texas, our BVS Home Experts team has helped many property owners choose the perfect system for their space. Keep reading to learn about the different types of heat pumps.

Air-Source Heat Pumps (ASHP)

When you see a heat pump, there’s a high probability that you’re looking at an air-source heat pump. These units are the most common types of heat pumps, and they are usually the focus of most conversations on heat pump technology.

In colder temperatures, the refrigerant flowing inside the heat pump’s coils absorbs heat from the outdoor air. The system compresses the heat and increases the temperature before transferring it indoors through a fan or blower. In the summer months, the system reverses functions to cool your indoor space.

An air-source heat pump’s ability to provide both heating and cooling makes it an excellent choice for moderate climates that do not have freezing winters (like here in Texas).  

In colder climates, air-source heat pumps will likely struggle to deliver enough warmth to make an indoor space comfortable without using supplementary heating systems.

Ground-Source Heat Pumps

Ground-source or geothermal heat pumps draw heat from beneath the earth’s surface. They are arguably the most efficient and reliable heat pump systems because the temperatures underneath the earth’s surface do not change a great deal, regardless of what the surface temperature reads.

Ground-source heat pumps feature a loop of pipes buried horizontally or vertically underground. The loop contains the refrigerant, which exchanges heat with the surrounding soil.

In the summer, the system dumps heat into the ground through the loops. In the winter, the loops help absorb heat from the ground, transferring it to your indoor space.

The mechanics of a ground-source heat pump make it the better option for regions with extreme surface temperature variations.

Water-Source Heat Pumps

Water-source heat pumps work like geothermal systems. The only difference is that they draw heat from a water body such as a pond, river, or lake. In cooling mode, they dump heat into the water source, and in heating mode, they draw heat from the water.

The system relies on a heat exchanger and a network of pipes and ducts to transfer the cool or warm air it generates around your indoor space. Water-source heat pumps are rarely practical for residential properties. Therefore, you’re most likely to see them in use in commercial spaces.

The upfront cost is also prohibitive in certain locations, so people asking, “What are the different types of heat pumps?” are generally not thinking about one of these.

Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pumps

Ductless mini-split heat pumps are a subtype of air-source heat pumps. They are a versatile and eco-friendly option for heating and cooling indoor spaces. They look like conventional split-unit air conditioners because they feature an indoor air handler and an outdoor compressor unit.

The refrigerant line runs from the outdoor unit to the indoor unit. The biggest allure of these systems is that they allow better zone control. When central units are not practical, you can use ductless mini-split heat pumps to control temperatures in specific parts of your home.

They are the easiest types of heat pumps to install because you don’t need to create ductwork for them.

Hybrid Heat Pumps

Just like the name sounds, hybrid heat pumps combine the functionality of different heat pump types to maximize efficiency and effectiveness in certain climatic conditions. Some hybrid heat pumps also tie into your existing furnace system.

A hybrid heat pump that connects to your furnace will work well in extremely cold winters because the furnace will kick in when the temperature drops beyond a certain threshold.

Other combinations of hybrid heat pumps include:

  • Ground and air-source heat pump combination: In this combo, the air-source system will work when the air is warm outside, and the ground-source system will kick in when the temperatures plummet.
  • Air-source heat pump and oil boiler combination: This combo works like the furnace hybrid. The boiler kicks in when the temperature drops too low for the air-source heat pump to work effectively.

Which Type of Heat Pump Should You Choose?

The right type of heat pump to choose will vary depending on your personal situation and preferences. For most properties in Texas, the right-size air-source heat pump can deliver dependable heating and cooling through the seasons.

However, if your property is too big for a single heat pump, you may need to compare the cost-effectiveness of installing multiple ductless mini-split heat pumps versus a conventional central air conditioner/furnace combination.

A ground- or water-source heat pump can also work if you have the space or a nearby water body. Finally, in our experience, it’s rare to find any property that needs hybrid heat pump setups here in Texas. Unless you already have a furnace or a boiler, you don’t need to spend money on a hybrid system.

Call BVS Home Experts for Your Heat Pump Needs

Are you looking for the perfect heat pump system that will help you lower your heating and cooling costs and reduce your carbon footprint? Do you need further guidance on the question, “What are the different types of heat pumps?” Turn to our team at BVS Home Experts.

We have extensive knowledge of the heat pump technology. You can trust us for honest, dependable advice on topics such as the pros and cons of each heat pump type, heat pump life expectancy, heat pump repair and maintenance, and more.

Call our BVS Home Experts team in Katy, TX, today at (281) 391-1510 to schedule a consultation.

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