What are heat pumps and how do they work exactly?

Chances are that you know a neighbor, a friend, or a family member here in South Louisiana with a heat pump—you might not know it, however, since the outdoor units of air conditioners and heat pumps are almost identical. So, what are heat pumps, anyway? In this article, we’ll review what these systems are, how heat pumps work, and whether one might be a good fit for your home.

Whether you’re ready to take the next step or you just need more information, go ahead and contact our team here at DeFelice Heating & Cooling. You can also call us at 985-693-3700. We’d be more than happy to answer your heat pump questions or provide you with a free in-home estimate on our lineup of new Carrier and Trane heat pumps.

Here's how heat pumps work here in South Louisiana, and why one might be a good fit for your home.

Most heat pump outdoor units look similar to those of air conditioners.

Here's how heat pumps work

True to their name, heat pumps essentially move (“pump”) heat energy from one place to another. Where this heat gets moved to and from depends on the season. Let’s start by talking about the summer—most of us here in South Louisiana are concerned about our cooling. In hot weather, the heat pump operates much like an air conditioner. Its indoor component (“air handler”) absorbs heat energy from inside your home and transports it using refrigerant to an outdoor component (“heat pump”). There, the heat energy is released from the refrigerant into the outdoor air. Repeated over and over again, this process removes enough heat from your home to effectively cool it down, lowering the temperature to what’s on your thermostat.

Here’s where heat pumps differ from air conditioners, however. In the colder months of the year, the system reverses operation. The refrigerant captures ambient heat energy from the outdoor air and then moves that heat inside, where the energy is released to heat up the air in your home. Even on a cold, brisk Louisiana night in the dead of winter, there’s heat energy in the air for the heat pump to draw from. We’ll discuss this in greater detail in the next section.

With a heat pump, homeowners have access to both summertime cooling and wintertime heating. This makes them a popular choice for many people here in South Louisiana.

A system for all Louisiana’s seasons

Heat pumps are a popular heating alternative to furnaces and boilers in the Sun Belt states where our winters are relatively mild. As mentioned earlier, heat pumps have to draw ambient heat energy from cold outdoor air to warm up your home in the winter. In places with extremely cold days and nights, there is very little heat energy present to pull in. This means that the heat pump has to work hard to keep up with the heating needs of the home—if it can even keep up at all.

Of course, sunny Grand Isle isn’t exactly snowy Buffalo in the winter. That’s why heat pumps work so well here: our relatively mild winter nights mean there’s enough heat energy for a heat pump to do work effectively and efficiently. Since heat pumps work the same as air conditioners in the summer, they’re also a good fit for our hot, humid days, too.

Is a heat pump right for my home?

If you live here in South Louisiana, chances are that the answer to this question is “yes.” As everyone knows, our winters down here are pretty mild, which means the heat pump is within its comfortable operating range. If your home needs a new cooling system, we recommend that you consider the year-round versatility a new heat pump has to offer.

Energy-efficient comfort

It’s basic physics: energy can’t be created or destroyed. It just changes forms. A furnace changes a fuel source (typically, either gas or electricity) into heat energy. In doing this, much of that energy potential is lost being converted to heat. This is why heating a home using a furnace or boiler can be expensive in the winter.

In contrast, heat pumps do not create heat in the same way that a furnace does. Using electricity to power the system, the heat pump simply moves existing heat energy from one place to another. This is a far more efficient means of heating your home, which means lower winter energy bills for you and your family.

Trusted manufacturers

We install new heat pumps in homes throughout South Louisiana, ranging from Larose down to Grand Isle. Those heat pumps have one of two names on them: Trane and Carrier. These are two of the world’s leaders in heat pump technology, efficiency, and innovation. The Trane XV20i Variable Speed and Carrier Infinity® 20 Heat Pump With GreenSpeed® Intelligence are two of the most-efficient, versatile heat pumps commercially available today.

One popular model here in South Louisiana is the Carrier Infinity® 16 Coastal Heat Pump. This is a heat pump made to stand up to the salt air coming off the Gulf of Mexico. That’s important for many of our customers in Grand Isle, Leeville, Golden Meadow, and beyond.

Get a free in-home estimate on a new heat pump from our team

If you’d like to learn more about how heat pumps work or if one is right for your home, you’ll want to give us a call. Our team offers free in-home estimates here in South Louisiana. That means that one of our techs can come out to your home and take measurements so that we can match you to a perfectly sized Carrier or Trane system for your house and cooling needs. Also, don’t forget to ask our team about our financing, available with approved credit!