What is a Heat Pump?

A heat pump is a heating and cooling system that is installed outside your home. They work by pumping heat in and warming your home during the cold months, then reversing and pumping heat out during warm months. The duality of heating and cooling is the greatest feature of heat pumps.

Heat pump systems use evaporator and condenser coils. During the summer, the evaporator coil cools your home, while in winter the condenser coil heats it. Heat pumps run on electricity and can be combined with furnaces to create the ultimate hybrid heating and cooling system.

Heat Pumps Keep Improving

Technological advances are making heat pumps more and more attractive to homeowners. They’re quieter than their predecessors and are becoming more and more efficient, increasing comfort and reducing utility bills.

Recently, new technological developments have made heat pumps even better. According to Fitch Services, heat pumps can now function in temperatures as low as 20 degrees and their efficiency has increased by 300% depending on the type and model.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Heat pumps have many advantages and some disadvantages. Consider both to see if a heat pump is the best fit for your home.

Heat Pump Advantages:

  • Less maintenance
  • Provides heating and cooling
  • Lower running cost
  • Last a long time
  • Have better safety
  • Fewer carbon emissions

The advantage of having a heat pump installed at your home is that they require a lot less maintenance than other systems. Mainly, maintenance only consists of cleaning, clearing debris from the area, and replacing filters. Cleaning should be done every 8 to 12 weeks.

Although the name suggests only one, heat pumps provide both heating and cooling to your home. They also run at a lower cost than other systems and generally last a long time. They are safer as well and have fewer carbon emissions.

Heat Pump Disadvantages:

  • High cost upfront
  • Hard to install
  • Trouble functioning in severe cold
  • Not fully carbon neutral
  • Bigger heat pumps need room

The disadvantages of having a heat pump are that they cost more upfront and are harder to install than other systems. In severe cold weather, they have trouble functioning and they are not fully carbon neutral.

Depending on where you live, a heat pump may be the best or worst option. In moderate climates, a heat pump would be useful. It could heat and cool your home efficiently.

However, if you live in extremely cold areas, a heat pump may not be right for you. Heat pumps struggle to create heat in very cold temperatures, often requiring a second system to take over during colder months, which is more costly and less energy efficient. Try a furnace instead!

Bigger Heat Pumps Need Room

A new, more energy-efficient heat pump sometimes can’t be installed in the same site as the unit it is replacing. Many of today’s units are physically bigger than the older models because they’re built to provide a more Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) which makes them more effective.

A new unit may need more air clearance – away from bushes, fences, and other obstructions to airflow. This means you may have to clear out some space before having it installed.

Which is Better: Gas Heat or Heat Pump?

You may be wondering: Which is better, gas heat or heat pump? It all comes down to preference. Heat pumps are more energy-efficient, but gas heaters give a hotter feel and will warm a space quicker.

A great alternative is a hybrid heat system that uses both a furnace and a heat pump, switching between them to be as efficient as possible but have quick heat when needed.

Hybrid systems are gaining popularity since they combine the versatility of heat pumps with the heating power of furnaces. Where the heat pump fails to warm in extreme temperatures, the furnace flourishes. This makes the two an excellent combo for year-round comfort.

Heat pumps use electricity while furnaces use natural gas. Hybrid systems switch their fuel source automatically during the colder months, but they also have the option for homeowners to switch the fuel source manually.

Want to Know More?

For more information on heat pumps, those interested can check out our free ebook, which can be found on our ebook page.

Here’s a sneak peek at the Table of Contents:


Chapter 1  What is a Heat Pump?

Chapter 2  History of the Heat Pump

Chapter 3  Why Should I Have a Heat Pump in Alabama?

Chapter 4  How Much Money Will a Heat Pump Save Me on Energy Costs?

Chapter 5  What is a Defrost Cycle and What Are the Concerns Related to It?

Chapter 6  What is Secondary/Emergency Heat?

Chapter 7  What is a Dual Fuel/Hybrid Heat Pump System?


This 20-page book is loaded with information to help you make informed decisions and to see if this energy-saving appliance is for you.

Don’t get caught in the cold or the heat. Freedom Heating and Cooling, a family-owned business, will quickly and efficiently solve your problems and cheerfully help you with any heating, ventilation, or air-conditioning issue.

Call us at (205) 444-4444 or visit our contact page.