How Do Heat Pumps Work?
Three Common Heat Pumps, Explained

Know Before You Buy

If you’re looking for an energy-efficient way to heat and cool your home, you may be considering a heat pump. But which kind is right for you? To more easily grasp the differences among the three most popular types of heat pumps, it’s helpful to understand the basics of heat pump technology first.

Blog HP 3 Kinds In Line 02
Moving Heat Around
Not Creating Heat
Mini-Split for Heat Pump

Unlike furnaces, which create heat through the combustion of fossil fuel, electric heat pumps do not create their own heat. Instead, they transfer heat from one place to another. This means they can move that heat into (or out of) your home – depending on your needs and the time of year. These three heat pumps capture and/or redistribute heat differently.

Air Source Heat Pumps
Air Source Heat Pump

Air Source Heat Pumps pull thermal energy from the air to heat and cool your home. This category of heat pump technology includes ducted units (for larger spaces) and ductless mini splits (designed for smaller “zones”).

Air-to-Water Heat Pumps
air to water indoor heat

Air-to-Water Heat Pumps, or hydronic heat pumps, also utilize air as a thermal source. Unlike air source heat pumps, air-to-water units put captured heat to work warming water stored in a tank inside your home. This heat can then be used throughout your home using equipment like low-temperature panel radiators. It can also serve as your home’s hot water source.

air to water radiator heat pump
Ground Source Heat Pumps
Ground Source Heat Pump

Ground Source Heat Pumps are also known as geothermal or water source heat pumps. Rather than drawing heat from the air, these units use the relatively constant temperature of the earth or ground water as a thermal source. That means they’re an option for hot and cold climates. Because they pull heat to your ducts through strategically placed underground pipes, ground source heat pumps are the most challenging and expensive to install. But they’re also the most efficient.

Ground Source Heat Pump
Research Starts Here

While each of these three heat pump technologies can provide energy-efficient heating and cooling, you’ll want to be sure to choose the most appropriate system for your home. Check out our Electric Heat Pump Customer Buying & Operation Guide. You’ll find a wealth of information to ensure your new heat pump system is properly designed and installed.

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