Do Heat Pumps Work in Freezing Temperatures?

October 20, 2022
Heat pump in Somerset, KY

Heat pumps have been in existence for a while, but they’ve become more common in Kentucky in recent years. This is because they’re quite efficient at both heating and cooling. They can be a year-round solution that can combat the hot and humid weather we have in the summer as well as the cool winters we can experience. In the winter, a heat pump can be effective at keeping your home warm and toasty, even when the temperatures drop below freezing.

How Heat Pumps Warm Your Home

When you need to heat up your home, there are a few ways in which you can go about this. You could actually heat the air in your home, which is how traditional heaters work. This can be a great way to heat a home, but it does take a lot of effort on the part of the heater. This can translate into high utility bills that may be hard to deal with each month.

Another way to raise the temperature of your home is to bring warm air into it. This is how a heat pump works. It doesn’t actually heat the air; instead, it takes in heat from outside of your home and then brings that heat in. This is a more efficient way to warm up your place since heat can be transferred from one place to another. Many people who have switched from furnaces to heat pumps have found that their utility bills have decreased.

How Heat Is Transferred

Heat can be readily absorbed by a material called refrigerant. Refrigerant is used in the piping system in heat pumps as well as in refrigerators and air conditioners. It’s either found in liquid or gas form. When the refrigerant is cold, it’s in liquid form. Its temperature can easily be raised, and when this happens, it transitions into a gas.

Refrigerant cycles through a heat pump’s system. As a cold liquid, it travels through the piping outside of your home. As it reaches its destination, it absorbs heat from the environment. Its temperature is increased, and it transitions to a gas before it travels back inside your home, following the closed loop. Here, the system removes the heat from the refrigerant and sends that heat throughout your home. The refrigerant then goes back to being a liquid and starts the cycle again.

Freezing Temperatures

This system can work even when the temperatures outside are quite cold. It might not seem like there’s that much heat in the outdoor environment in the middle of winter, but there actually is. It’s all relative. In order for the heat transfer to happen, all it takes is for the refrigerant to be at a lower temperature than the environment. Since liquid refrigerant can be very, very cold, it can readily absorb heat even in frigid weather.

Types of Heat Pumps

There are two main types of heat pumps that our customers use. There are air-source heat pumps and ground-source heat pumps. These names indicate where they get their heat from. An air-source heat pump gets its heat from the air outside your home. The outdoor unit where this heat transfer happens is usually located right outside the house, and it looks fairly similar to a regular air conditioner.

A ground-source unit gets its heat from under the ground. Ground-source units are also called geothermal heat pumps and take advantage of the fact that the temperature underneath the ground stays fairly stable throughout the year. If you dig about five or six feet down, you’ll find ground temperatures that are likely to be between 50 and 60 degrees. That being said, some geothermal systems require us to dig much further down. If you’re interested in having a heat pump installed at your place in Somerset, KY, we can work with you at Jeffries Heating & Air + Plumbing and can talk you through your options.

Contact Us

If you need any assistance with a heat pump, we’re available to help you. Our team at Jeffries Heating & Air + Plumbing can install, repair, or maintain your heat pump. We also offer services related to traditional heaters, air conditioners, and water heaters, and we perform drain and air duct cleaning, too. Every day, we work hard to meet our customers’ needs. Call us if you have any questions or would like to set up an appointment.

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