Fire Recovery Realities

Air-Souce Heat Pump Vs. Ground-Source

by Matthew Fields

Many homeowners use a combination of a furnace and an AC unit to provide heating and cooling to their homes. While this is an effective option, you can provide both heating and cooling with one piece of equipment if you install a heat pump. The most common choice when it comes to heat pump is an air-source heat pump, but you stand to save money if you install a ground-source heat pump. 

What Are the Limitations of an Air-Source Heat Pump?

An air-source heat pump heats a home by extracting heat from the outside air. Even when the outside air feels cold, there is heat which your heat pump can extract. On the other hand, the closer the outside temperature gets to freezing, the harder it is for your heat pump to extract heat. Thus, you can efficiently heat a home with a heat pump when the outside temperatures are moderately cool, but you will end up paying a lot of money to warm up a home if you have to deal with many days of sub-zero temperatures. In other words, the biggest weakness of an air-source heat pump is that it relies on the fluctuating nature of air temperatures. 

What Are the Advantages of a Ground-Source Heat Pump?

Unlike an air-source heat pump, which will have a set of coils located next to the foundation outside your home, a ground-source heat pump will utilize specially designed coils which are buried under the ground. The reason for this is that the temperature of the earth twenty feet below the ground will stay between 50-60 degrees year round. Thus, you never have to worry that falling temperatures will drive up your heating costs. Nor do you have to worry that soaring temperatures will drive up your cooling costs. In fact, a ground-source heat pump can be up 600% efficient. In contrast, an air-source heat pump will only be up to 250% efficient. Thus, you save more on operating costs with a ground-source heat pump. 

If you live in a moderate climate, you can probably get away with an air-source model. On the other hand, if you live in the North or in a mountainous location, sub-zero temperatures can make it necessary to use a ground-source unit. While the excavation required to install a ground-source heat pump will drive up the installation costs, the amount of money you stand to save on heating and cooling your home can offset the higher initial cost. Thus, a ground-source model can make a cost-effective choice in spite of the higher initial cost. 

For a heating and cooling company, contact a company such as Norris Mechanical.