“Is a heat pump a reliable heat source for the winter?”
If you’re asking this question, it probably means you’ve heard about one of the potential drawbacks of heat pumps: even though they can handle most air conditioning jobs, heat pumps can encounter trouble providing efficient warmth when the outdoor thermometer drops too far below freezing.
You are right to feel concerned… but then you should always feel concerned about any comfort system in your home. No heater or air conditioner exists that can handle every single condition thrown its way. Heat pumps are remarkable in that they provide the function of both an air conditioner and a heater, so already they offer higher reliability for seasonal changes than many HVAC systems.
A heat pump warms your house through a heat exchange process that moves heat from outside and shifts it inside. (The process reverses during the summer to provide you cooler temperatures.) Even during cold weather, heat is available for the heat pump to draw on and bring into your home.
However, when the outdoor temperature falls below 35°F, heat pumps will start to lose efficiency in drawing heat. However, this issue is not as problematic as it once was: heat pumps have increased dramatically in efficiency over the past 25 years. Additionally, most heat pumps are equipped with auxiliary heat – usually electric resistance coils that kick on when the outside temperature gets too low.
However, we still wouldn’t recommend heat pumps to every homeowner—especially if they lived somewhere with harsh winters. Fortunately, a heat pump in Raleigh, NC won’t have to deal with many extremely cold days: with Raleigh’s average winter lows in the upper 30s and low 40s, a heat pump is usually up to the job of keeping you cozy until you need it to change back to air conditioning mode.
Contact Raleigh Heating & Air if you are interested in having a heat pump installed in your home, or if you want repairs and maintenance for the one you already have. All our technicians are NATE-certified to assure top-quality service.