If you need a new air conditioner, you may want to switch to a heat pump. This might be beneficial if you need new ducts too, because some heat pumps are ductless, saving you money by eliminating the need for new ducts.
While it may sound like a heat pump is for making heat, it actually makes both heat and cool air. Here's how a heat pump works to act like an air conditioner and a look at this type of residential air conditioning installation.
How A Heat Pump Keeps You Cool
A heat pump uses refrigerant to cool your home like any other type of air conditioner. What's unique about a heat pump is that it can also use refrigerant to heat your home. When the heat pump is operating, it blows cool air out one side and warm air out the other. The unit has a reversing valve that switches the direction the cool air blows so it blows indoors during the summer and outside in the winter.
This allows you to use a residential heat pump for both cooling and heating. This reduces the amount of equipment you need, and if you buy a ductless model, you can eliminate ducts and reduce the amount of climate-control equipment needed even more.
How Heat Pump Installation Is Done
First, you should decide if you want to use ducts or not. If you don't use ducts, the air conditioning installation contractor needs to install a wall blower in each room of your home. You may want ducts since they are out of sight, especially if your current ducts are in good repair and suitable to use.
However, if you want more control over the temperatures of individual rooms in your house, then using blowers might work better since you can shut off the AC to rooms that aren't in use and keep your bedroom as cool as you like.
Installation starts with finding a place to set up the heat pump. A heat pump is similar to a traditional AC condenser. It's installed outside on a flat surface. However, a heat pump has a special consideration. It operates during the winter too, so it has to be protected from snow mounding around the equipment. The contractor might recommend hanging the heat pump from the side of your house so it is kept above potential snow.
If you're having a ductless heat pump installed, the contractor passes cables from the heat pump through the wall to the blowers inside your house. These include refrigerant lines and condensation drainage lines. You'll need to decide on where you want to install the blowers on your wall so they're out of the way and can cool your home effectively.