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Are Heat Pumps Suitable for Alabama’s Climate?


A quick bit of research about heat pumps can easily tell you that they’re excellent for providing cooling in any climate. What’s a little harder to determine is just how well they work at providing heating.

If you’re considering getting a heat pump in Alabama, you need to know precisely what to expect from it in our climate. Is it a reasonable choice? Will it provide all the heating you need? Here’s some specific information to help you form your own conclusions.

How Heat Pumps Cool

To provide cooling, heat pumps work just like traditional air conditioners: a compressor pressurizes refrigerant, which flows through coils, absorbing heat from inside your home and evaporating in the process. As it continues to flow to the outdoor unit, the heat is released and the refrigerant condenses back into a liquid. It’s a continuous loop, with some refrigerant always absorbing heat and some releasing it. 

How Heat Pumps Heat

With your heat pump’s reversing valve, the flow of the refrigerant can also go the other way. Heat is absorbed from the outdoors and carried in to be released. This seems perfectly reasonable at first glance, but how exactly does that work in the winter? How can a heat pump absorb heat from outdoors when it’s cold outside?

Absorbing Outdoor Heat in the Winter

For one thing, once the heat is released indoors and the refrigerant depressurizes, the refrigerant itself becomes very cold. This means that it can easily absorb some heat as long as the temperature outdoors is even slightly warmer than the refrigerant.

In fact, heat pumps maintain extremely high efficiency in temperatures as low as 40° F, and do still work, albeit somewhat less efficiently, even at temperatures in the 20s and 30s. They are often recommended as the only necessary source of heat in climates where temperatures rarely drop below freezing.

How Heat Pumps Can Provide Sufficient Heat for Your Home

One of the biggest reasons for heat pumps to struggle with providing sufficient heat in a climate like ours is if a house is particularly drafty. The best and most efficient solution to this problem is to improve your home’s insulation, which will help tremendously with cutting down the amount of energy you use to cool your home as well.

Another way to make sure you’ll have plenty of heat is the auxiliary heat option many heat pumps come with. This is a small electric heating element that will automatically come on when it’s needed, giving your heat pump a bit of backup on those coldest January nights. 

Making Your Decision

Does it sound like a heat pump is a good choice for your home? You can get any additional information you need, along with custom-tailored recommendations based on your house and your family’s needs, by reaching out to us to discuss heat pumps with a member of our team of experts in heat pump service in Shelby County, AL

“Your experience is what matters most!” Contact Douglas Cooling & Heating today for help with all your heating and cooling needs.

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