What Makes a Heat Pump Different?

technician working

Many of our customers have been proud heat pump owners for at least a year, while others might be thinking about making their next home comfort appliance a heat pump system. Congratulations! These systems are becoming increasingly efficient, effective, and downright convenient with current climate trends.

There’s a heatwave happening at an irregular time of the year? There’s a cold front moving in a bit earlier than expected? No problem! You’ve got a heat pump to carry you through any temperature changes that might confront you. 

Heat pumps are a powerful ally to have during most if not all of the seasons, so it makes sense for customers to be curious about them.

But how exactly does a heat pump system differ from other heating or cooling units? And why might this information be important before you call our team for heat pump service in Greenfield? The answers are down below!

Refrigerant Is the Lifeblood of the System

Unlike a furnace or a boiler, a heat pump uses refrigerant to warm a home. Just because it’s called refrigerant doesn’t mean that it’s cold, it just means that it holds temperature and changes form exceptionally well.

The refrigerant does two things: it evaporates and condenses, allowing it to absorb and release heat which is kind of a cheat code when it comes to heating a space.

If it’s pressurized enough outdoors, it absorbs heat from the atmosphere even if it’s cold outside. Then, it gets transferred into your home and depressurized where it can condense and allow the heat to disperse. But this time, it disperses into your home so you can feel warmer.

This is one major way that your refrigerant can differ from a furnace. The furnace creates heat by burning gas whereas the heat pump uses refrigerant. A refrigerant leak can be just as bad for your system as a gas leak from your furnace, since they’re both essential to the process of keeping your home warm. (And they can both be unsafe to inhale)

The Temperature Differential

Since a heat pump uses heat from the atmosphere, it runs a lot easier when there’s a small temperature differential between the outdoor and indoor temperatures. For instance, if it’s 40°F out and your thermostat is set to 65°F, it only needs to draw enough heat to keep temperatures 25° higher, which is easily done at an efficient level.

Even when the temperature drops below freezing outdoors, the system is still working efficiently as long as your thermostat is set correctly and the system is in working order. If it keeps shutting down or is barely able to meet the demand you set on your thermostat, then there might be something wrong with it.

Running Your System Confidently

Remember, if you’re focusing on heating your home efficiently, set a mild temperature threshold on your thermostat. This will ease the burden on your heat pump by lowering the temperature differential it has to meet. You’ll save money on electricity and you can compensate for the chillier temperatures by bundling up or making warm food that keeps you feeling cozy.


Join the Jake's Heating, Air & Plumbing VIP Club

Let us reduce future repair needs and keep your HVAC systems operating at peak performance throughout their lifespan.

  • Priority Service
  • Annual System Cleaning
  • Member-Only Discounts