Air Source Heat Pumps

This most common type of heat pump works solely by exchanging hot air for cool air—heating your home in the winter and cooling it in the summer.

There are two basic types: packaged and split system. The layout of your home will usually determine which one you choose.

Packaged Heat Pumps

The packaged heat pump is a self-contained unit that allows the compressor and both heat exchangers to be located outside your home. The unit uses ductwork to heat and cool your entire home. Several types of packaged heat pumps, such as packaged terminal, self-contained through-the-wall, or window heat pumps are used for single rooms and operate without ductwork.

Split System Heat Pumps

The second type, called the split system heat pump, is the more common of the two air source choices. In this type the indoor air handling unit and heat exchanger are separate from the compressor and the outdoor exchanger. This allows you more installation options. Whole house heating and cooling occurs via ductwork.

There are also two special kinds of split-system heat pumps:

  1. The ductless and mini-split heat pump has one outdoor unit and one or more indoor units. It allows you to heat or cool individual areas of your home by circulating refrigerant to each indoor unit. Each area has its own thermostat. No ductwork is needed.
  2. The triple-function heat pump not only warms and cools your home, it also heats your water. By removing heat from your system’s refrigerant and using it to heat water, it provides essentially free water heating during the summer and more efficient use of electricity for heating water in the winter.

Advantages + Considerations

With a heat pump, you can save up to 50 percent on heating costs compared with electric resistance heating (electric furnace). Operating costs can also be less than a furnace that uses natural gas or propane gas, depending on the cost per Therm. Initial costs may be slightly higher than those of other central heating and cooling systems. Here’s a good rule of thumb: The higher the efficiency, the more you’ll pay for the unit up front—but the less expensive it will be to operate in the long-term.

Dual-Fuel Heat Pumps

A dual-fuel heat pump is an electric heat pump and a gas furnace all in one, offering you maximum efficiency during typical Southeastern winter weather, and a boost of gas heat when the temperature falls below freezing.

Geothermal Heat Pumps

Looking for the most energy efficient heat pump system of all? It’s a geothermal heat pump, which uses the constant temperature of the earth to warm and cool your home regardless of the highs and lows of outdoor air.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are ideal in southern climates: In the winter, they draw warmth from the air to keep you warm; in the summer, they remove heat from the air to keep you cool. And they do it all in the most energy efficient way possible.

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