What Is A Heat Pump and How Does It Work?


Heating or cooling homes can be an expensive affair. A little monthly expense might balloon to thousands of dollars over the lifespan of your appliance. As a result, you might want to consider economical options. A heat pump is one such alternative.

Heat pumps are adaptable and energy-efficient cooling and heating solutions. A heat pump can adjust the flow of refrigerant and either heat or cool a home using a reversing valve. A multitude of improvements are boosting the performance of modern heat pumps.

But since it’s a long-term investment, a meticulous approach from the customer is needed. Consult only trusted and experienced HVAC professionals to help you with a heat pump setup.

What is a heat pump?

Heat pumps offer flexible heating, cooling, and humidity management; in the summer, they pump heat outside of your house, and in the winter, they draw heat indoors. A heat pump can be the solution for both heating and cooling your house if you live in a moderate environment where the temperature doesn’t frequently drop below freezing.

In order to provide comfort year-round, they are electrically operated and transmit heat using refrigerant. Homeowners might not need to build separate systems to heat their houses because they manage both cooling and heating.

Heat pumps are more ecologically friendly than heaters since they don’t require fossil fuel.

How does a heat pump work?

Heat pumps, contrary to popular opinion, do not create heat; rather, they transfer heat from one area to another. A heater spreads heat out across any home environment, whereas heat pumps absorbs the heat within outside air (even in subzero weather) and transfers it to the inside air.

A heat pump and an air conditioner are fairly comparable when it comes to cooling, collecting heat from the inside air, and releasing it via the exterior unit.

What are the types of heat pumps?

Primarily, there are three types of heat pumps:

Air-source heat pumps

One of the simplest, best value, and least space-consuming heat pumps is this one. An air source often called an air-to-air pump brings heated outdoor air into your house. According to the Department of Energy, an air-source heat pump can help cut energy use by 50%.

Ground-source heat pumps

Ground-source heat pumps are more effective than air-source heat pumps, particularly during the winter months, because the ground temperature is nearly always warmer than the air. A ground source heat pump, commonly referred to as a geothermal heat pump, draws heat energy from the earth and ground around your home’s foundation. An air source system is noisier and less reliable than a geothermal heat pump. The expensive costs of installation are a fundamental driver behind why geothermal heat pumps are still not that common.

Water-source heat pumps

A water source heat pump uses direct water pumping from the source through the heat pump to generate heat energy from the water. This approach is far less expensive to implement than a ground source pump and offers a more stable input temperature than an air source pump. Water source heat pumps need a steady supply of water, and in the dead of winter, a backup heat source could be required.

What are the advantages of a heat pump?

Highly economical

The installation cost of heat pumps may be relatively higher than conventional heating systems, but the running costs are far lesser.

They also require less maintenance than heaters. Once a year, a basic inspection by yourself is sufficient, which enables you to save a lot of money on the maintenance of your heating system.

Fewer safety concerns

Heat pumps are more secure than conventional heating systems that rely on fossil-fuel combustion. They are safe to use, and because they generate heat using electricity instead of burning fuel, which means they’re a good deal safer than conventional heating systems.


Generally, heat pumps can survive as long as 15 years, but regular maintenance and proper usage can stretch their life span even further, to 40 years!

Lower carbon footprint

A heat pump system reduces your carbon footprint and offers an excellent energy-to-heat conversion rate. Water source heat pumps, for example, may achieve efficiencies of up to 600%.

Reversible nature

You don’t need an additional air conditioner for your house if you have a heat pump installed. During the summer, air-to-air heat pumps can be readily converted to cooling mode.

What is the downside to a heat pump?

High one-time cost

Heat pumps can be more expensive than standard heating systems. Geothermal heat pumps could be more expensive than conventional heating systems and even other kinds of heat pumps, but they are more efficient and eco-friendly.

Complex installation

The installation of a heat pump necessitates extensive effort and inconvenience to your home and landscape. Quite often, cavities must be made through the building cladding.

Requires good insulation

If your house is not insulated or is poorly insulated, heat pumps may not be a good choice for you. Old heating systems are good for such places.

Lower efficiency during colder weather

The heat pump must work harder and use more energy as the temperature drops in order to continue drawing heat from a source that is getting colder.

Do heat pumps use a lot of electricity?

Heat pumps rely on electricity, while conventional heating methods may rely on fossil fuels for their operation. It is obvious that heat pumps will consume electricity, but the good news is that you will have lesser costs for all the other types of fuel.

Generally, heat pumps can contribute to a $50-$100 increase in your monthly electricity bill.


Heat pumps are a handy and effective tool in ensuring your can maintain home comfort throughout the year, using alternative technology to heat up indoor spaces no matter what time of the year is.

If you are looking for a heat pump installation, it is easy to receive misinformation and get lost. Therefore, take advice only from experienced and reliable HVAC professionals for all your heating needs.

Home Base Project Team
Home Base Project Team
At The Home Base Project, we offer practical, real-life tips and inspiration about DIY, decorating and gardening. The Home Base Project provide the best information about home renovation and design, connecting home design enthusiasts and home professionals across the world.