Do Heat Pumps Work in Arizona?
Arizona is known for hot summers, but it can experience all seasons – including winter. If you’re looking for an energy-efficient way to heat and cool your home, a heat pump may be your best choice.
But do heat pumps work in Arizona? Can you use a heat pump reliably for heating and cooling? Find out!
What is a Heat Pump?
Heat pumps are an energy-efficient option for heating and cooling, especially compared to some other HVAC systems. They only move heat from one area to another, so they don’t use as much energy as a gas-powered furnace.
Despite the name, the heat pump doesn’t actually pump heat into a home or out of it. Heat pumps transfer heat, so they can be used for heating and cooling in different seasons. The incredible versatility is only useful in mild or moderate climates, however, rather than areas with extreme hot and cold.
A heater works by converting energy into heat directly. Heat pumps merely pull the heat from the air inside your home and transfer it outside, or in cold weather, pull the warm air from outside into your home to keep you comfortable.
How Does a Heat Pump Work?
Heat pumps have a simple, straightforward design that uses the natural transfer of thermal energy for heating and cooling. The components include an outdoor unit and an indoor unit, both of which have sub-components.
The outdoor unit uses a coil and a fan. The coil acts as a condenser in cooling mode and an evaporator in heating mode. The fan is used to transfer the air across the coil for a heat exchange.
The indoor unit has a similar design with a coil and a fan. In heating mode, the coil acts as a condenser. In cooling mode, the coil acts as an evaporator. The fan transfers the air across the coil.
Refrigerant is necessary to absorb or block heat as it circulates through the pump. The compressor is used to pressurize the refrigerant.
The key component is the reversing valve, which is how heat pumps can heat and cool. The valve reverses the flow of the refrigerant to allow the pump to work in both heating and cooling modes as the need arises.
Then there’s the expansion valve, which regulates the flow of the refrigerant to make sure it’s kept at the optimal lower pressure and temperature range.
Now for the science. Heat pumps rely on natural transfers of thermal energy. Hot air naturally wants to move from hot, pressurized areas to cooler, lower-pressure environments. The heat pump simply allows the hot air to contact the area with cooler temperatures and lower pressure so it can make its way out.
This is the process for cooling. For heating, a heat pump’s reversing valve switches the flow of the refrigerant, which makes the heating source the outside air instead of the indoor air to keep your home warm in winter.
Advantages of a Heat Pump in Arizona
Arizona has one of the best climates for heat pumps. Though it’s known for heat, Arizona experiences multiple seasons, all fairly moderate or mild.
The heat pump works like an air conditioner and circulates refrigerant to pump heat from one location to another, such as indoor to outdoor or outdoor to indoor. This is why they work well in mild climates without extreme temperatures.
Where they differ is that an air conditioner can only pump the heat from indoors to outdoors, so it can cool a room down.
One of the greatest advantages of installing a heat pump is that it can be used for heating or cooling in any season without increasing the energy bills significantly. Places like Arizona are free of temperature extremes, so they’re able to maximize the benefits of the heat pump.
In an area with extreme subzero temperatures or extremely hot, humid summers, a heat pump wouldn’t operate as effectively and could lose efficiency over time.
Disadvantages of Heat Pump in Arizona
Despite its many advantages, a heat pump isn’t the best choice for all locations, climates, homes, or homeowners.
If you already have an HVAC system with a gas-powered furnace that heats your home, you’d be better off choosing an air conditioner and furnace unit instead of going for a heat pump. The heat pump works for both heating and cooling, so you’d pay an upfront cost to miss out on the full value of what the unit can do.
It’s not cheap to install a heat pump. That upfront cost pays off in better comfort and lower energy bills, but if you’re not replacing the whole system, it’s not the most cost-effective choice. It would be better to upgrade the air conditioner and keep the furnace.
If you’re considering an upgrade for your Arizona home’s heating and air conditioning, schedule an appointment with the experts at Proskill!