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Heat Pumps

If You live in the Myrtle Beach area most likely you own a heat pump!

A heat pump warms in the winter season and cools in the summer. Or at least that's how it's supposed to work. A heat pump cools a house by moving indoor heat to the outside; it warms the house by moving exterior heat to the inside. A heat pump is a heat exchanger that removes heat from indoor air to cool it and removes heat from outside air and pumps it indoors to heat up a house. It takes advantage of liquid’s tendency to soak up heat as it expands.

A heat pump has an outdoor unit in which a fan moves air with a coil that soaks up heat. Refrigerant journeys back to the outdoor device to start another full cycle with the pump.

A heat pump has an outdoor device in which a fan moves air through a coil that absorbs heat. A blower presses return air with the coil, warming the air and move it into the ducts. Refrigerant moves back to the outdoor unit to start another full cycle with the pump. An automatic reversing valve reverses these flows as required to keep the home's indoor comfy.

Heat Pump

Customer's faq about heat pumps

Q. Are heat pumps efficient in the southern States?

Heat pumps are very effective for homes in Myrtle Beach, Surfside, Garden City, Murrells Inlet, and most southern coastal states. They are a good choice whether you rely on electricity or natural gas for your energy needs.

A heat pump is an all-in-one heating and air conditioning system that works year-round for comfort. During warmer months, a heat pump works as a normal air conditioner. In colder weather, a heat pump collects heat from the outdoor air and transfers it inside the home. Even when outside air feels cold, there is still heat in that air. On very cold days when there's not enough heat in the outside air to meet the thermostat setting, an electric heater supplements the indoor air to warm a home. This process is quite efficient as it produces two to three times more heat than the energy it uses.

A heat pump can also be an effective add-on option to use in conjunction with an existing gas, propane or oil furnace. With this dual-fuel option, the two systems share the heating load, but never function at the same time. Each system operates when it is most cost effective.

Q. During the winter, my heat pump delivers warm air, but not hot air, and will operate for long periods of time. Is that normal?

Yes, this is normal. A heat pump generally produces air that is around 80° and provides even comfortable, heating around the house – not a blast of intense heat. However, 80° may feel cool to your hand, which is usually closer to 90°.

Q. During the heating season, my heat pump makes a "whooshing" sound and I feel cool air coming from the supply registers. Is that normal?

Totally normal. During the cold weather months, frost can accumulate on the outdoor coil. This can cause the heat pump to go into a defrost cycle anywhere from 1-10 minutes, depending on the amount of ice on the coil. This is temporary; the system will return to the heating mode once the ice is gone.

Q. Why does my heat pump system sometimes freeze up?

Several factors that can cause system freezing. First, if running in the cooling mode check your filters; restrictions in air flow can lead to freezing. Next, thaw the system out by turning off the cooling and running the fan. Also, try turning the system to the heat mode until the ice has melted.

If the problem recurs after checking for air restrictions and thawing your system thawed, schedule a service call with Harding's Services. Our service technicians will check the refrigerant level. They may also have to clean the evaporator coil, check the blower speed and check for any intermittency in blower operation. A service technician can also evaluate other conditions that may make your system prone to freezing and recommend the best course of action.

Q. How is the efficiency of heating and cooling equipment measured?

When purchasing a furnace, heat pump or air conditioner, ALWAYS ask about its Efficiency Ratings. They will tell you will tell you how efficiently the unit uses fuel (gas, oil or electricity). The most-frequently used efficiency ratings are:

  • SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio): This ratio tells you the amount of cooling your system will deliver per dollar spent on electricity The SEER rating of any unit can range anywhere from 13 to 21. The higher the SEER the more efficient the system will be and the less it will cost in the long run to own and operate.
  • HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor): Similar to SEER, it is a measurement of efficiency of the heating portion of a heat pump. HSPF ratings range from 6.8 to 10; high-efficiency units have efficiencies of 7.5 HSPF or above.

Q. What is two-stage heating?

Two-stage heating means a furnace has two levels of heat output: high for cold winter days and low for milder days. Two-stage furnaces start in the first stage, instead of reaching full capacity all at once. That means there is no sudden blast of air. The low setting meets household heating demands 80% of the time, allowing a two-stage unit to run for longer periods and provide more even distribution of heated air. Because the furnace operates mostly in its lower-capacity first stage, it burns less fuel than a furnace that always runs at full capacity and then has to shut off when the heating demand has been met.