Heating and cooling don’t have to come just from central systems. More and more Maryland homeowners recognize the energy- and money-saving benefits of heat pumps as an alternative method to heat and cool year-round. Read through our guide to learn how heat pumps work and what they can offer you.

What is a heat pump?

A heat pump is a device that uses smaller amounts of energy to move heat from one location to another. Heat pumps pull heat out of the air or ground to heat a building. At the same time, heat pumps can be used in reverse to cool a building by pulling hot air out of a building.

How does it work?

Heat pumps keep your home’s climate steady by pulling heat from the air and moving it either in (in the winter) or out (in the summer). This is controlled through a refrigerant system, including an outdoor condensing unit. Your heat pump can still extract heat from surrounding air and pull it into your home even in colder than usual temperatures.

Types of Heat Pumps

There’s more than one option for your heat pump system, giving you the flexibility to choose the right fit for your home. 

Air-Source or Air-to-Air: This is the system most often found in U.S. homes since they’re easy to install and maintain. The pump utilizes an outdoor condensing unit and an indoor air-handling unit to move heat in and out of your home. Air-source pumps also come in both a ducted and ductless style. Both still implement the outdoor unit, but a ducted pump uses a single air-handling unit (called a standard split) to redirect air through ductwork. At the same time, a ductless system distributes air through small wall-mounted units known as mini-splits. 
Geothermal heat pumps: These are less common given their unconventional (and pricey) technology. Rather than pulling heat in via an outside unit, geothermal pumps move heat to and from the earth. This increases their efficiency because the temperature of the ground (or water source) around your house stays relatively constant. They are installed underground, so both initial installation and regular maintenance require excavation.
Pros & Cons of Heat Pumps

The most significant advantage of a heat pump over standard HVAC units is that you only need one system to heat and cool your home. They also are highly energy-efficient, using energy to transfer heat rather than burning fuel to create it. Heat pumps also serve as great dehumidifiers, working more effectively than standard air conditioners to dehumidify your home. Further, they won’t dry out your air as a furnace does in the winter.

 On the downside, the outdoor units required for a heat pump may not be the most attractive addition to your yard but can easily be disguised with landscaping. The wall units necessary for a ductless mini-split system are a bit harder to camouflage, which may be a downside for your interior design scheme. The upfront cost of installing a heat pump system can be a deterrent. That’s why it’s essential to work with a trusted company like GAC Services. We offer up-front pricing and a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so you get the unit you want with no hidden fees. 

How to Maintain a Heat Pump

A heat pump is no more complicated to maintain than any other HVAC system. It requires very little from the homeowner aside from the standard air filter change. However, because they operate year-round, they typically need professional heat pump maintenance twice a year—once in the spring and again in the fall. 

Contact a heat pump repair specialist when:

Your heat pump is stuck in heat or cool mode.
Your unit is making loud or unusual sounds.
You’re noticing spikes in your energy costs.
The system is failing to meet your comfort needs.
The heat pump is freezing or icing over.

Remember, professional, routine service extends the life of your system and saves you money in the long run. 

Trust Maryland’s Heat Pump Pros

Heat pumps are not only a viable option—they’re an exceptional one for Maryland homes. And Marylanders know to turn to GAC Services for expert heat pump installation and repair services throughout Montgomery County and Frederick County. 

Contact us to learn more about the heating and cooling services we offer, including heat pump installation, maintenance, and repair!