A heat pump is an energy-efficient way to heat and cool your home. Air Dynamics specializes in the installation, repair and maintenance of dual fuel heat pumps throughout the Illinois Fox Valley region.
How Does a Heat Pump System Work?
Although the name might suggest it, a standard heat pump – also referred to as an air-source heat pump – does not generate heat. Rather, it transfers it according to the principle that heat energy will by nature seek areas of lower pressure and temperature.
Installed outside of your home and powered by electricity, a heat pump achieves heat transfer to cooler, lower-pressure environments by putting heat in contact with them through refrigerant passing through a reversing valve.
In fall and winter, the heat pump draws heat from the cold outer air by absorbing it with the refrigerant in the outdoor unit, which contains a coil and a fan. The outdoor coil will act as a condenser when cooling your home and as an evaporator when heating it.
To heat your home, the outdoor fan blows the outside air over the coil to enact the heat exchange and turn the air into cold gas. The unit’s compressor then applies pressure to the cold gas, making it hot.
Once in the indoor unit, the hot gas is cooled by passing air. This creates the heat to warm your indoor air and condenses the gas to a warm liquid. The liquid is relieved of pressure as it returns to the outdoor unit, where the refrigerant once again becomes cool and the cycle renews.
The indoor unit for the heat pump system – also referred to as the air handler – likewise contains a coil and a fan, which operate in the opposite way of the outdoor coil and fan. The indoor coil serves as an evaporator when cooling and as a condenser when heating.
To cool your home in late spring and summer, the indoor unit pulls heat from the indoor air and transfers it outside, just as a central air conditioner would.
Beyond using as much as 50% less electricity than many furnaces, heat pump systems do not burn fossil fuels, making them environmentally friendly as well.
Dual Fuel Heat Pump Systems
Standard heat pumps are best suited for milder climates where the temperature does not usually fall below freezing, such as in the Southeast. In a colder region such as ours, a traditional heat pump is combined with the furnace to form a dual fuel heat pump system.
A dual fuel heat pump allows you to switch between the heat pump and the furnace according to the season you’re in and the temperature and function you need.
The system has four main components:
outside condensation unit with a compressor that ensures refrigerant circulation
gas furnace with a blower that draws air in, heats it and pushes it into your house
indoor coil that is either a part of the furnace or a separate installation
refrigerant lines placed between the indoor and outdoor coils
Your heat pump will be able to manage much of the heating you need except for on the coldest days of winter. When the Fox Valley air drops into the single digits or below zero, the dual fuel heat pump will activate the furnace to provide your heat.
During summer, your dual fuel heat pump will operate as a central AC unit by moving hot air out of your home until your thermostat reaches your setting. The heat pump system also maintains temperatures during the milder weather of spring and fall.
The system monitors itself throughout the year to determine whether the heat pump or the furnace will most efficiently provide your temperature setting. In other words, when you’re programming your thermostat, you can set it and forget it, because the dual fuel heat pump will run your HVAC for you!
Heat Pumps: Professional Installation, Repair & Maintenance
Air Dynamics supports you as advisors and service professionals for the heat pump for the home heating and cooling you need. For example, beyond further understanding how heat pumps operate, you might wish to learn more about the right size, position and location of a dual fuel heat pump for your home.
Our technicians can also discuss the potential benefits of installing a mini-split system that cools your spaces or both heats and cools them just as dual fuel heat pump would. You can zone your HVAC in specific rooms without installing ducts or having to modify or retrofit your central forced air by floor level. This can be especially ideal for a home with rooms that are too hot in summer or too cold in winter.
Having a dual fuel heat pump or a ductless mini-split system can result in some notable savings for you as well. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 contained tax credits for home energy upgrades, including for heat pumps. From 2023 through 2032, depending on the amount of taxes owed, homeowners will be eligible for a 30% federal tax credit up to $2,000 on the total cost of buying and installing a qualifying heat pump system.
The Inflation Reduction Act also included the High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate Act (HEEHRA) to help low- and moderate-income homeowners offset the cost of a heat pump system. Based on their household income, certain taxpayers could be eligible for a rebate of up to $8,000 for an ENERGY STAR®–certified electric heat pump.
Even if you don’t qualify for the HEEHRA program rebates, you may be able to save with utility and manufacturer rebates for dual fuel heat pumps.
To find out more about the available tax incentives and qualifying for them, be sure to contact your tax specialist as well as your utility company and the Illinois Office of Energy before you make your upgrade.
Heat Pumps for Your Home Heating: Contact Air Dynamics Today
Air Dynamics is devoted to supporting our local communities with the service, advice and equipment for efficient, environmentally friendly HVAC solutions. To further discuss the advantages of a dual fuel heat pump system for your home, just give us a call at (630) 731-1550!