Do Cold Temperatures Affect Heat Pump Efficiency?

Heat pumps are a great way for San Francisco homeowners to heat their homes efficiently. But are they as efficient during cold weather? In this blog post, Schmitt Heating & Air Conditioning discusses how cold weather affects heat pump efficiency.

How Heat Pumps Work

Heat pumps utilize the same process as air conditioners, in that they gather heat from one space and release it to another. Air conditioners generate cool air through a substance called refrigerant, which absorbs heat from the room in its cooled state. At a later stage of the cooling process, the heat absorbed by the refrigerant is expelled at the outdoor unit.

Heat pumps, on the other hand, use the same cycle but it reverse: the refrigerant absorbs heat from the outdoor air and releases the heat into the air handler, to be distributed through the house. Some heat pumps can be equipped with pipes that gather heat from under the ground, or from a nearby body of water.

Do Outside Temperatures Affect Heat Pump Efficiency?

Heat pumps can gather heat even when outdoor temperatures drop. But with less heat to absorb, the heat pump won’t be able to provide heating as well as it could, and therefore it needs to increase its workload to provide adequate heating. This results in increased energy consumption during colder months. Heat pump efficiency starts dropping when outdoor temperatures are at 25 degrees or below. To put things in perspective, an air conditioner’s workload increases in the middle of the summer season, which also results in higher energy use.

Heating Tips if You Have a Heat Pump

Your heat pumps have the same maintenance requirements as your air conditioning system, which means you should have it maintained by an HVAC professional once a year. Refrigerant leaks, clogged drain lines and dirty condenser coils can affect its efficiency.

Take the time to change out air filters every three months or when it’s filled to capacity. This helps ensure proper airflow, maintains steady indoor temperatures and reduces strain on the compressor. If you have a programmable thermostat, set it to a few degrees lower when you’re away or asleep. This helps reduce the workload on your heat pump and helps keep it in good working order.

Call Schmitt for Your Heating Needs

Schmitt Heating & Air Conditioning is one of the most trusted local HVAC companies in San Francisco. If you need help with your heat pump or furnace, give us a call at (415) 522-0966 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.

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