Winter temperatures in Tolleson, AZ, can drop to the low 40s. At these temperatures, most homeowners rely on their HVAC system to keep their homes warm. Some opt for a forced air furnace. However, others see the benefits of using a heat pump. However, they may be concerned about how well a heat pump can work when the temperatures dip down into the low 40s or colder.
Do Heat Pumps Work in Cold Weather?
Yes, heat pumps can work very effectively in cold temperatures. Proof of this is the number of heat pumps that are sold in countries with cold winters, like Norway. In Norway, winter temperatures can dip into the single digits. Yet, 60% of the country relies on heat pumps to stay warm. These same trends are being seen in cold-weather states in the United States, including Maine, New York and Minnesota.
How Do Heat Pumps Work in the Cold?
Air-source heat pumps represent the most commonly purchased type of heat pump. These systems leverage the ambient air temperature outside as either a heat sink or a heat source.
Your heat pump operates similarly to your air conditioner when it’s in cooling mode. However, the key difference lies in the heat pump utilizing the outside air to heat refrigerant. The heat pump compresses the refrigerant, generating a hot gas. This heat energy is transported inside the building and released through the ductwork or the indoor mini-split unit.
During moderate weather, such as that experienced in Tolleson, AZ, during the winter, heat pumps can achieve an efficiency of up to 400%. This implies that the heat pump can generate up to four times the energy it consumes for operation.
As the outside temperature drops, the heat pump has to work harder to provide heat. Traditional heat pumps begin to lose efficiency in temperatures hovering around 20 ° below zero. However, certain features still enable a heat pump to function in such conditions.
For instance, cold-weather refrigerants have a lower boiling point than those used in traditional heat pumps. These refrigerants continue to circulate through the system at lower ambient temperatures, extracting cooling energy from the cold air.
Modern compressor designs enable heat pumps to operate using less energy, featuring improved durability and heating capability. Cold climate heat pumps depend on a variable compressor. This implies that the compressor can adjust its speed in real time, based on the current need. In contrast, traditional compressors are either fully on or off, with a fixed speed, which is not always as efficient in colder temperatures.
With a variable-speed compressor, the heat pump can operate at a lower speed during moderate temperatures and seamlessly switch to a higher speed during extreme temperatures.
How Can a Heat Pump Bring in Warmth When It Is Cold Outside?
To explain how the heat pump operates in cold conditions, consider a bicycle pump as a helpful analogy. When you release air from a tire, the air that escapes feels cold to the touch. Conversely, when you increase the pressure in the tire, the air becomes hot. A similar phenomenon occurs within your heat pump, where the temperature of the refrigerant changes as it transitions from liquid to gas or vice versa.
For instance, when low-pressure refrigerant in liquid form flows through the outdoor condenser coils, it absorbs heat from the outdoor environment. Even in sub-freezing outdoor temperatures, this heat causes the refrigerant to boil and transform into a low-pressure vapor. This vapor is then pushed into the compressor, where it undergoes high-pressure treatment.
Subsequently, the pressurized, heated refrigerant is directed to the heat exchanger in the indoor unit. Here, it warms the air that is blown over the exchanger by the blower. During this process, the refrigerant releases its heat, transforms it back into a liquid state and then initiates the cycle anew.
Is a Heat Pump the Right Option For You?
Thankfully, the winters in Tolleson can get cold, but they are not extreme temperatures. In these relatively moderate conditions, a heat pump offers energy efficiency, durability and safety compared to a forced air furnace. Heat pumps can double as air conditioners as they can reverse the refrigerant flow, pulling heat out of the air inside your home and cooling indoor temperatures. The moderate climate in Tolleson makes it one of the ideal locations for considering a heat pump.
Quality Heating and Cooling in Tolleson, Arizona
At El Indio AC, we have provided quality HVAC services since 2002. We offer 24-hour, seven-day emergency services to ensure that our valued customers can feel comfortable in their homes regardless of the emergencies that arise. We pride ourselves on treating your home the way we would like our home to be treated.
Our services include HVAC installation, maintenance and repair. We install heat pumps, ductwork and home automation. We are proud to offer our services in English and in Spanish. Contact El Indio AC today to work with a heating and cooling company you can trust.