Every homeowner wants their home to feel comfortable in both the summer heat and the cold weather during the Bay Area rainy season. A great solution to achieve this year-round comfort for older Bay Area homes with central heating systems is to supplement that system with one or more heat pumps.
Is a Heat Pump Good for Bay Area Homes?
A heat pump is an energy-efficient heating and cooling solution just about everywhere. However, it is most popular in the parts of the country where the temperatures rarely go below freezing. In fact, it is most effective as a standalone heating and cooling system when the temperatures don’t range below 25-30 degrees Fahrenheit. In Oakland, the East Bay, and throughout the Bay Area, heat pumps work very well because the year-round temperatures rarely dip below freezing.
How Does a Heat Pump Work?
A heat pump is a device that cools a home in the summer and warms it in the winter by “pumping” or transferring heat from the inside to the outside in summer, and reverses that process in winter. It does this instead of generating heat like traditional forced-air gas furnaces, and heat pumps produce cold air differently than classic air conditioning units do.
A heat pump system is typically composed of:
- An outdoor unit containing a compressor, a coil and a fan. The coil operates as a condenser for cooling and an evaporator for heating. The fan blows the air over the coil to facilitate the heat exchange.
- An indoor unit, commonly called a mini-split unit, contains a coil and a fan, operating in the same way as the outdoor unit.
- The refrigerant in the units absorbs or rejects heat as it circulates through the system.
- The compressor pressurizes the refrigerant and moves it through the system.
- A reversing valve allows the system to switch between cooling and heating.
- An expansion valve regulates the flow of the refrigerant, allowing for pressure and temperature changes.
Heat Pump Installation Considerations
Heat pumps as air conditioners and heating systems can easily be installed in homes. They can work with air duct systems to condition the whole house. Or, to cool or heat specific rooms that are not well served by the central system, ductless mini-split units can be installed in each room to efficiently provide heating and cooling. And as with any AC unit, it is important to inspect the heat pump system annually to maintain it.
Improve Your Home’s Heating and Cooling
Contact the professionals at Element Home Solutions, serving the Bay Area from Santa Rosa to San Jose with comprehensive services including the installation of heating and cooling systems, air duct repair and installation, attic and crawlspace insulation services, and repairing HVAC systems.