Understanding the Types of Heat Pumps: Which One is Best For You?

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Heat pump that uses air

Heat pumps have risen in popularity over the past half-century among eco-conscious homeowners.

As the changing climate forces many Arizonans to change their lifestyle, many are turning to energy-efficient types of heat pumps to save on their electricity bills over the summer.

Confident Comfort is a trusted name in air conditioning repair, maintenance, and installation in the Flagstaff, AZ, area. We want everyone in our community to be familiar with different types of heat pumps and their potential to revolutionize how you cool your home.

A heat pump might not be the right solution for every house, but with all the choices available, why not look a bit deeper into whether one of them meets your needs?

How Do Heat Pumps Work?

Heat pumps work by moving heat energy out of the home to cool the air during the summer and into the home during the winter. They achieve greater heating efficiency compared to gas-fueled furnaces because the energy is already present in or around your home.

Heat pump systems play the dual role of a heater and air conditioner, giving you unparalleled control over your room temperature. Having a single system for both aspects of climate control means half as much maintenance and half the risk that an essential part will fail at an inopportune time.

Heat Pumps vs. Central Air Conditioning

Heat pump and air conditioner

Although the principle of heat pumps and traditional air conditioning is similar, a heat pump system looks and behaves differently than a standard HVAC system.

HVAC systems work by using large ducts to carry cool air to every room. These ducts can harbor mold and dust and can develop leaks and cracks, which reduce the system’s efficiency.

Heat pumps, on the other hand, often work with mini-split air conditioning systems. These systems use narrower pipes to move air to individual wall-mounted AC units. Homeowners can use air conditioning to target cool air to each indoor unit so that you only cool the rooms that need cooling.

You can choose ductless and ducted types of heat pumps. In most cases, a ductless system offers more flexibility and improved air quality. However, if you already have a central air conditioning system, you might be able to save money on installation by using the ductwork that you already have.

Types of Heat Pumps

The three main types of heat pumps differ slightly in the way they move heat out of your home. They draw energy from different heat sources. The choice of heat pump that works best for your home depends on the distribution of heat sources in the vicinity of your home.

Air Source Heat Pumps

Air source heat pumps

Air source heat pumps cool your home by pumping hot air from inside and allowing it to dissipate outside. The system extracts heat from the outdoors and pulls it indoors to heat the home.

Water Source Heat Pump

A water source heat pump works in essentially the same way as an air source heat pump, except that a body of water, such as a coil of water-filled tubing, transfers the heat. If the water in the heat pump runs through underground pipes, the surrounding earth can cool the water and, by extension, cool your home.

Ground Source Heat Pumps

Ground source heat pump

Ground source heat pumps keep the home cool by drawing heat from the warm house toward the ground. In the winter, the heat pump draws heat from the warmer earth. The heat pumps use either a horizontal borehole a few feet beneath the surface or a vertical borehole stretching over a hundred feet beneath the surface.

Earth-coupled ground-source heat pumps sometimes go by the name geothermal heat pumps because they draw energy from the earth. Ground source heat pumps are different than geothermal heating and power, which is only possible in places with substantial volcanic activity.

Which Types of Heat Pumps Work Best in Flagstaff, Arizona?

Another style of air heat pump

In our opinion, ground-source heat pumps are best for our area.

The sunny, dry weather conditions create hotter surface temperatures, heating the surface of the soil and the roofs of buildings. Beneath the surface, sheltered from the sun’s rays, the soil remains cool.

Ground-source heat pumps exploit the underground temperature difference by letting the earth serve as a heat absorber during the summer. The limitless potential for the earth to absorb heat gives them an edge over other cooling technologies.

During Arizona winters, the air and ground do not get very cold, allowing air-source and ground-source heat pumps to keep the home warm. In other parts of the country, where temperatures drop significantly below freezing, heat pumps might need assistance from a furnace or boiler.

Why Professional Installation Matters for Quality Heat Pump


Installing a heat pump for home

Installing a heat pump can be more complex and labor-intensive than installing a traditional air conditioning system. This is particularly true of geothermal heat pumps. Any contractor should have expertise in digging the deep trenches or boreholes that will transfer heat into the ground.

Calling an air conditioning contractor who focuses on conventional HVAC systems to install your heat pump could be an expensive mistake. If the technicians don’t thoroughly understand the physics of soil composition and thermodynamics, they could recommend the wrong type of heat pump or fail to set the system up correctly.

Depend on Confident Comfort to Install Heat Pump Systems the Right Way

Confident Comfort is an HVAC and heat pump installation business in Flagstaff, Arizona. The gallery and testimonial pages on our website provide ample reasons why we are the best choice for heat pump installation.

Before you spend over ten thousand dollars on a heat pump installation, explore our website and find out why we have what it takes to give you a heat pump system that’s reliable, easy to use, and earns you a solid return on your investment.

Now that you know more about the different heat pumps, schedule an appointment with a Confident Comfort consultant to decide which is right for your home. Fill out our contact form today so we can start talking about your project.