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How does a heat pump work


Heat pumps are an energy-efficient alternative to furnaces to heat a house. Heat pumps can be used during both summer and winter seasons to either heat the house or cool the house depending on the season. During the heating season, the heat pump moves heat from outdoors to indoors to warm up the house. During the cooling season, the heat pump moves the heat from indoors to the outside to cool the indoor space. The principle of working is similar to that of window air conditioners used in many houses. Since the heat pumps transfer heat from one space to another instead of generating heat, they are generally more efficient in maintaining a comfortable temperature inside the house.

heat pump repair NYC
Heat pump

Types of heat pump

There are two main types of heat pumps both operating on the same principle described above. The only difference is the source from where the heat is extracted.

Air to Air heat pumps

In the air to air heat pump, heat is transferred between the outdoor air and the indoor air. This is the most popular and cheapest type of heat pump available today. According to the Department of Energy, these types of heat pumps can reduce the electric utility bill by 50% compared to electric resistance heating like furnaces or baseboard heating. High-efficiency heat pumps also help to dehumidify the house thereby reducing energy usage. Until recently, heat pumps were mostly used in milder climates, but with the advancement of technology, heat pumps can be used even in colder climates like New York City. The recent law passed in New York City to ban natural gas will make the heat pumps more popular in the coming years.  Air to air heat pumps can be designed either as a ducted or a ductless system. The ductless mini-split heat pumps are very common and cheap to buy and install. These are becoming very popular these days and require very little modifications to your house.

Geothermal Heat pumps

Geothermal heat pumps transfer the heat between the indoor air and the ground or any nearby water source. The cost of installation of a geothermal heat pump is typically higher than that of the air to air heat pumps. But the operating cost is much lower due to a relatively constant temperature of the ground or the water. Geothermal heat pumps are also generally more efficient than air to air heat pumps, especially during peak winter seasons when the outside air temperature drops significantly. This is not very popular today due to its high initial cost of installation. But advancement in technology like the “direct injection” method reduces the initial cost. Department of Energy estimates the higher initial cost can be recovered with the reduced utility bills over 5-10 years of operations. The life span of the system is typically over 30 years.

Geothermal heat pump

Advantages of heat pumps

Heat pumps are more efficient than boiler or furnace heating systems and result in lower operating costs. They also require less maintenance compared to traditional heating systems. Heat pumps can be used to both heat and cool the house, unlike boilers or furnaces which need a separate air conditioning unit to cool the house. The life spans of a heat pump if generally much longer than that of boilers or furnaces. Heat pumps are much safer to use than electric space heaters which can cause a fire. The terrible tragedy in the Bronx on January 9th, 2022 reminds us of the dangers of fire resulting from heating elements like space heaters, furnaces, or boilers.

Disadvantages of heat pumps

The main disadvantage of the heat pump is the high initial cost of installation. They are difficult to install and will generally require skilled labor which increases the labor cost. Sometimes during extremely cold weather, the heat pumps might not be able to extract enough heat from outside to heat the indoors. In such cases, there are emergency heating elements or a backup furnace that can augment the additional heating requirements.


Homeowners must consult the best plumbing service provider in New York City to determine if a heat pump is a good system for your house. Homeowners must evaluate the initial cost of installation and the savings in monthly utility bills to determine if it makes financial sense to upgrade your house heating and cooling system.

If you need any help with your heat pump installation or repair, Call Neo Plumbing & heating Corp today or schedule a plumber online

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