A heat pump is a standalone appliance utilizing two technologies, refrigeration and electricity, to heat and cool a home, room, or other spaces. A heat pump is comprised two components, a condenser unit (air handler), that often sits on the outside of a home, and an indoor unit, that sits on a wall or within a ceiling.
How does a heat pump work?
A heat pump uses electricity and refrigerant to move heat from one place to another. To produce heat, a heat pump extracts heat from the air outside of your house and transfers it to refrigerated coolant. The coolant is them compressed, which increases the temperature. The coolant is then moved to the air handler, which, in turn, passes air over the hot coolant, increasing the temperature to accommodate what the thermostat called for.
Why a heat pump?
Most importantly, a heat pump should be used in Wisconsin as a comfort measure. If you have boiler heat and are looking for air conditioning, a ductless split heat pump may be a great option for you. It would certainly be less invasive than the construction and installation of duct work. Another application is to heat or cool an area that just doesn’t seem to be as comfortable as it could be. Maybe a room or kitchen faces the sun most of the day, leading to additional solar heating of that area. A ductless split can target that specific area with cooling, if you should choose. A heat pump uses electricity for power, rather than the generation of heat (think gas furnace). This method is more efficient, overall, that a gas furnace, when it comes to heating an area.
Can a heat pump operate in very cold temperatures?
Technology has advanced greatly in this area. A number of years ago a heat pump, such as an older Mitsubishi Ductless Split, would work at or just below freezing. Nowadays, the temperature can drop considerably more. A Mitsubishi Hyper Heat model is designed to provide comfortable indoor temperatures in extreme cold climate conditions, as low as -13F. In Wisconsin, a heat pump cannot be a primary source of heating within a home. You do need a back-up, such as baseboard heating.
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