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Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. Blog

Is a Heat Pump Sufficient Year Round?

Here in Arlington, VA, heat pumps are a viable alternative to forced-air furnaces and similar traditional forms of heating. They work as both a heater and an air conditioner year round, sending refrigerant gas through a series of coils that first heat the surrounding air and then cool it. In cooling mode, the heat pump asborbs heat from your home and transfers it outside, and in heating mode, it absorbs heat from the outside and transfers it into your home. They’re an effective and cost-friendly way to keep your home comfortable no matter what the season, but is a heat pump sufficient year round? Further south, they usually are. Here, however, they sometimes need a little help.

A heat pump’s big advantage is its efficiency. It doesn’t actually create heat or cold temperatures, it merely facilitates a heat exchange with the refrigerant running through its system. That means it uses much less energy than some other forms of heating and air conditioning, keeping your monthly costs down while providing an all-in-one option for conditioning the air in your home. There’s just one catch: that efficiency drops off considerably when temperatures approach freezing levels. Here in Virginia, we don’t get as many cold days as they do in, say, New England, but we certainly have our share of snow and ice in the winter, and a heat pump may not be sufficient during those periods.

The good news is that most heat pumps have electric resistance coils that kick on when the temperature outside gets too cold. They provide that extra bit of help the heat pump needs. You can also choose to combine your heat pump system with a back up furnace to use on very cold days.

If you’re wondering whether a heat pump is sufficient year round for your Arlington, VA home, and need some expert advice, then give us a call here at Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. We’re ready to help so don’t be afraid to contact us today!

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