Carolina Climate Control Blog: Archive for the ‘Heat Pumps’ Category

Why Heat Pumps Are So Great During Our Winters

Monday, December 11th, 2023

Have you heard of heat pumps? If not, our mascot Moose is so happy that you dropped in today! Heat pumps aren’t new technology, but they’ve started to explode in popularity as HVAC solutions great for homes and businesses. 

Heat pumps are electrically powered refrigerant-based systems similar in to air conditioners. The biggest difference between heat pumps and ACs is that where ACs can only use refrigerant to move heat out of homes, heat pumps can change the direction they work so they can both move heat out of homes and move it into them. That means a heat pump is both a heater and an air conditioner in one.

Heat pumps in Mt. Pleasant, SC and elsewhere in the Charleston area are a perfect match for the weather. Heat pumps aren’t ideal in all climates, but it feels like they were invented just for ours. We’ll explain more.

Continue Reading

Explaining the Magic of the Heat Pump

Monday, November 6th, 2023

Fall is a time when homeowners consider making upgrades to their heating system. If you’ve got a furnace that’s over 15 years old and you’re concerned about it making it through the coming winter, fall gives you a chance to arrange an appointment with our team to look at your options for a heating replacement.

One of those options is a heat pump. You may already know a bit about heat pumps, but we want to share with you why heat pumps have started to make news and jumped to the top of many people’s heating system lists. Using a heat pump in Charleston, SC isn’t the ideal choice for all homes, but if it’s right for your home, we want you to know about it!

Continue Reading

How Long Will Your Heat Pump Last?

Monday, March 20th, 2023

Do you use a heat pump to both heat and cool your house during the year? Heat pumps have significantly increased in popularity over the last decade, and their energy-saving capabilities and environmental benefits promise even greater expansion ahead. 

Many people are still learning the details of how heat pumps work and what to expect from them, so the question “How long will my heat pump last?” is a common one. We’re going to address that question in this post, as well as look at why we think you should consider putting a heat pump on your HVAC shopping list if you don’t currently have one installed.

Continue Reading

Heat Pump vs. Air Conditioning: What’s the Difference?

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021

Whether you’re a new or seasoned homeowner, chances are you’ll repair or replace at least one heating and cooling system during your lifetime.  


Generally, homes in Charleston have either a heat pump or a traditional central air conditioning system installed. When it’s your turn to update your heating and cooling system, which one do you choose?


In today’s post, we’re breaking down the differences between heat pumps and air conditioners. Take a minute and read our brief guide so that you can decide which is suitable for your home.



Heat Pumps 101


A heat pump uses electricity to move heat from one place (the outside) to another (your home). Heat pumps can cool your home during warm months, but they also transfer warmth inside when temperatures drop below freezing.


Heat pumps make an excellent option for keeping your home comfortable during both summer and winter. Think of them as reverse-cycle heating and cooling systems that run on electricity.



How Air Conditioners Work


On the other hand, an air conditioner cools your home by removing warm indoor air so that cooler outdoor air can replace it. Air conditioning units are most effective at lowering the indoor temperature when used with insulation, which helps keep heated interior air from escaping outside.


While its primary role is cooling your house down during summer, an air conditioner has other functions too. One task is drawing out humidity levels from the rooms in your home.


The most common air conditioning system is an HVAC unit powered by gas or electricity.



Benefits of Installing a Heat Pump


A heat pump has several benefits for homeowners.


First, heat pumps remove heat in the summer, and put it back during winter, so operating costs can end up being more affordable than most traditional AC systems. Second, heat pumps usually use less electricity to cool down a house.


Most homeowners can lower their energy bills by installing this type of system. Heat pumps make an excellent option if you only need one heating and cooling system for your whole house.



Looking at the Differences


While both systems have the same end goal — keeping the temperature inside your home cool and comfortable — there are some key differences.


With a growing interest in using renewable energy sources, such as solar or geothermal energy, many homeowners find using a heat pump reduces their impact on the environment.  Since air conditioners rely on gas or electricity to operate, they don’t need renewable energy sources to function.


Using a process called heat exchange, heat pumps require an adequate intake system to move heat from outside into your home. Air conditioners don’t need a method of transferring heat from outside because they’re designed to draw in hot air and expel it back out again within their unit.


Heat pumps can also be used as an alternative heating source during winter months while air conditioners can’t perform this function.



Where Do Heat Pumps Work Best?


Many people associate heat pumps with winter because they absorb heat from the outside and distribute it inside. However, if there’s not enough insulation on your house or you don’t have an adequate intake system in place (i.e., no cold air return), then heat pumps can cause indoor temperatures to drop below freezing point.


Heat pumps function best when temperatures are between a certain temperature range. They’re not suitable for extremely cold or hot climates. The moderate climate in Charleston makes heat pumps an ideal choice for cooling and heating.



The Cost of Heat Pumps vs. Air Conditioners


Cost is another factor homeowners need to consider when installing one vs. the other system. Generally, it’s more expensive to purchase a heat pump than a traditional AC unit.


Even so, a heat pump can save you money in the long run because it will use less energy.


If you’ve heard air conditioners are efficient, it could be the truth. If you’re talking about a newer unit. All AC units tend to lose their performance over time because of(among other things) how quickly dust can accumulate inside the unit.



Maintenance Matters


Heat pumps have fewer moving parts than air conditioning systems. That causes some homeowners to assume heat pumps don’t require a lot of maintenance or upkeep.


You must schedule heat pump maintenance regularly to keep it working at optimal levels. Even though they may not be as high maintenance as air conditioners, skipping maintenance on heat pumps may introduce multiple issues. One of those is the development of mold inside the system.


While most homeowners can handle many DIY home maintenance tasks, heat pump maintenance should be taken care of by a qualified HVAC service provider. Most people schedule service at least once a year.



Air Conditioners Need Maintenance Too


Air conditioning systems have a lot of moving parts and require more upkeep. Most HVAC service contractors recommend maintenance annually at a minimum.


Maintenance service for an AC unit should include the following checks:


  • Check filters
  • Drain lines
  • Refrigerant levels
  • Electrical components


The HVAC technician should also inspect the condensate pan. 


Depending on how much you use your air conditioner (some people use them year-round), you may need to schedule a bi-annual service.



Schedule Your Heat Pump Service Today


Understanding how a heat pump works and its unique service needs will help you ensure your heating and cooling system works properly year-round.


Suppose your heat pump works as your primary heating and cooling system. Then, it’s wise to schedule maintenance in the spring and again in the fall.


The team at Carolina Climate Control specializes in maintaining heat pumps. Contact us today to schedule your routine service.

Continue Reading

Can A Heat Pump HVAC System Save You Money In The Lowcountry?

Tuesday, April 27th, 2021

How efficient is your current HVAC system? Could you be wasting valuable energy and worse—money without even realizing it? Are you looking for a more energy-efficient, cost-effective, sustainable heating and cooling solution for your home?

If so, you may be interested in learning more about heat pumps. These smart heating and cooling systems could potentially save you hundreds in utility bills each year.

Not only that, but they are also far better for the environment than traditional HVAC systems. So, how can an energy system help to save you money while helping save the environment?

This article will take you through everything you need to know, from how a heat pump works to how much installing one could save you money.



What Is a Heat Pump?


Traditional furnace or HVAC systems generate their heating and cooling powers from oil, gas, or electricity. These are typically nonrenewable energy sources, and ones that cost money to consume.

On the other hand, a heat pump is a type of HVAC system that harnesses naturally occurring energy to heat and cool your home. There are three main types of heat pumps. They can generate energy either from the air, water or ground.

Geothermal heat pumps harness heat from the ground. That heat is then transferred throughout your home through collector pipework. These types of pumps are normally integrated into the earth.

A water source heat pump uses large bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, or streams as their energy source.

The most common type of heat pump is the air source heat pump. This type of heat pump is normally situated outside the home and requires no underground piping to source its energy. For this reason, it is easier and less expensive to install than many other energy sources.

Air source heat pumps also take up relatively little space and make a minimal amount of noise when operating. This makes them perfect for placing somewhere along your home’s exterior.

If this sounds like a novel concept, it shouldn’t. In fact, you most likely already have an air source heat pump of sorts in your home. The mechanism on which air source heat pumps operate is actually exactly the same as the premise on which most refrigerators work.

Refrigerators take in warm air from the atmosphere and then expand it in order to make it cool. Air source heat pumps work in a similar manner.

Now that you know a little bit about how exactly heat pumps work, let’s take a look at how efficient they really can be.



Heat Pump Efficiency


Heat pumps are actually over 100% efficient, having the capability to transfer 300% more energy than they consume. In contrast, a gas furnace with very high-efficiency is about 95% efficient.

Compared to traditional heating systems like furnaces or boilers, heat pumps can reduce energy use by up to 50%. They can also cut your home or office heating costs by as much as 25%.

The answer as to how much a heat pump can save you will vary, depending on a few factors. This is because certain types of homes are better suited to the use of heat pumps than others.

Heat pumps work best in areas that don’t experience weather extremes and require only moderate heating and cooling needs. However, many types of heat pumps have a superior ability to dehumidify the air, compared to traditional air conditioning units. This is an added benefit they have in warmer, more humid climates.

Another factor that can affect how well your heat pump works is the type of home you have. If your home is not well insulated, it will not work as efficiently as it is designed to. If the wrong size heat pump for a home is installed, this can also lead to performance issues.



Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio


The seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER, is the system by which cooling efficiency is rated in the US. It is calculated by dividing the total heat removed from the conditioned space during the annual cooling season by the total electrical energy consumed by the heat pump during the same season. Though this may sound like a complex mathematical equation, it is actually a simple and effective method of determining the efficiency of an energy source.

Since this method of calculating cooling efficiency came into common usage, millions of homeowners across the US have managed to save untold amounts of money on their utilities, while making their homes more environmentally friendly.

Different SEER standards apply to different climate regions. In South Carolina, which is part of the Southeast region, a minimum SEER rating of 14 is required for cooling units.

The older your HVAC is, the lower a SEER rating it is likely to have, as standards for these types of systems tended to be much lower before the SEER system was introduced in 1992.

Because of the way in which they work, heat pumps are far more efficient, and thus far more likely to have a superior SEER rating than traditional heating and cooling systems such as boilers and furnaces.



Make the Switch Today


For Lowcountry homeowners, heat pumps offer a smarter and more efficient way of heating and cooling homes. Whether you’re looking for relief from the heat in summer, or a little extra warmth in winter, a heat pump is a cost-effective and eco-friendly solution. If you’d like to learn more about heat pump efficiency for your home, we would be happy to help.

Get in touch with us today to take your first steps toward a more affordable and sustainable HVAC system.

Continue Reading

Heat Pumps vs. Furnaces: What You Need To Know For Your Home In Charleston

Wednesday, January 27th, 2021

Even with our moderate winters here in Charleston compared to the rest of the US, temperatures dip down far enough where having a reliable heating system is definitely a necessity.

Though we’re already past our historical coldest day of the year — January 17th — overnight lows can stay quite chilly through March and April, so having that heating system you can rely on is important even moving into our warmer seasons.

That said, which type of heating system is going to be that reliable source of heat for you and your family in Charleston?

Back in 2019 we jumped head first into this question in our heat pump vs. furnace showdown and even offered an alternative heating solution that many Lowcountry homeowners have opted for.

As we all are well aware 2 years can be quite a long time (especially with a year like 2020 we just had) so let’s get reacquainted with our Lowcountry heating options and see which type may work best for your home in Charleston.


Heat Pumps in Charleston, SC

Heat Pump Advantages & Disadvantages

Simplifying things a bit from our original blog post mentioned above, heat pumps — generally speaking — look and function pretty much the same as any air conditioning system you may have installed in your home.

Unlike a typical central air conditioner, however, a heat pump can function in the winter to provide heat to your home. It does this by transferring ambient heat from the outside air into your home — essentially reversing its summertime operation (moving warm air in your home to the outside).

This is obviously a huge advantage for many homeowners. One system to install, one system to maintain and one system to provide year-round comfort.

This advantage does get diminished when temperatures dip far below normal lows, when there is little-or-no ambient warmth to draw from outside to warm your home. Well designed HVAC systems may come with a backup heating source (like the heating options found in many modern air handlers), so you may be alright if that is the case.

Temperatures rarely, if ever, dip low enough to cause heating issues with your heat pump, so that’s why they’re so popular here in Charleston.


Furnaces in Charleston, SC

Furnace Advantages & Disadvantages

Having a dedicated furnace, as you might imagine, means always having a dedicated heat source when temps get cooler in the Lowcountry. Furnaces produce heat by passing electricity through coils or burning some type of fuel, like gas, oil, wood or wood pellets.

Needing that extra fuel to heat your home can obviously mean additional and/or larger bills when you’re running your furnace in the winter.

The additional parts, equipment and maintenance that go with having a furnace can mean more things to worry about as well, especially if you have an older one installed in your home.


Ductless Heating Options in Charleston SC

Other Heating Options In 2021

When we reviewed heat pumps above, we singled out the “typical” heat pump many homeowners have installed — the models that look pretty much the same as any other central air conditioning system you may see around the Lowcountry. Like those central air conditioning systems, they still very much rely on your home’s ductwork to move heated air into your home.

What we didn’t mention are the ductless heating and air conditioning options you could install in your home.

Ductless mini-split HVAC systems are a great option for reliable heating as well as cooling, just like the more traditional heat pumps, but don’t need your home’s ductwork to distribute heated air. They can be installed individually in rooms or other areas, to allow your family to make more personalized heating adjustments depending on where they are in home.

As many Lowcountry home have more and more issues with their ductwork (flooding, duct availability, etc.), ductless heating solutions can be a great, reliable heating option for your Lowcountry home.



Whichever route you choose for your primary heating source in your Lowcountry home, be sure to discuss your project with your local heating and ac company to make sure you get the best heater installation possible.

Continue Reading

How A Heat Pump Works & What To Look For When Installing A New One

Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

If you’re new to the Lowcountry, or to the southeastern part of the United States in general, you may be hearing the word “heat pump” used quite often when someone is talking about their HVAC system or air conditioning in general.

When many people first hear the term “heat pump” they’re thrown off by the word “heat” as only being related to cold weather conditions, when in fact this term is all-encompassing for all weather conditions here in Charleston.

To help take some of the mystery out of heat pumps for you, below is an in-depth look at what they are, how they work, and finally some important heat pump brands and manufacturers you should be aware of.

What Is A Heat Pump? And How Does It Work?

A heat pump — very simply — is a piece of equipment that moves heat from one place to another. In our case, an air source heat pump is used to transfer heat in (during the winter) and out (during the summer). You may see something called a ground-source heat pump as well, more commonly referred to as geothermal heat pump, but you can review that topic in our other geothermal heating and cooling blog posts.

The heat pumps we’re referring to have the unique ability to transfer heat in both directions. That is, it can pull heat out of your home in the summertime and into your home during the wintertime.

When you have a furnace installed, it creates the heat on its own (using gas, electricity, etc.) to heat your home — heat pumps, generally speaking, do not create heat on their own. They pull/absorb any ambient heat from a source (the air outside) to warm your home.

In the summertime, a heat pump will operate exactly like any traditional central air conditioning system — pulling out the warmth and humidity in your home and transfer it to the outside air.

Heat Pump Manufacturers & Brands

With numerous manufacturers of heat pumps available for you to choose from it can be hard to know exactly which one will best fit your specific comfort needs here in the Lowcountry.

Like we always say, if you don’t happen to know something or don’t have experience with a certain area of expertise, rely on the people who eat, sleep and breathe it, day-in and day-out: your local HVAC company in Charleston.

If there’s one thing all HVAC companies hate, it’s faulty equipment — including heat pumps — so when they recommend a manufacturer it means they’ve most likely had great experience with them and they have happy customers because of it.

One manufacturer of heat pumps that continuously makes our customers happy is Trane.

Trane continues to innovate upon an already great set of heat pump lines, which is why we almost always tend to recommend going with them.

As Trane Comfort Specialists, we also can offer better pricing and longer warranties when you get your heat pump installed.

As you can see from what we reviewed above, heat pumps can play an important role in your personal home comfort here in the Lowcountry and also help save you money in certain circumstances.

Should you have any other heat pump questions or HVAC questions in general, you can always contact us anytime — we’ll be glad to help.

Continue Reading

HVAC Explained: Air Conditioning vs Heat Pump HVAC Systems

Monday, February 13th, 2017

If you find your HVAC system in need of replacement in Charleston, you may be doing a bit of research online to see what air conditioning & heating options are available for your home.

Most likely, you’ll come across people who have reviewed and posted about who have had air conditioning units or heat pumps in their homes. We often get questions about what the differences are between these two units and which is best for homes in Charleston.

To help you out with your research, below is a quick review of heat pumps and air conditioning units, the differences between the two types of HVAC systems, and what you should think about before moving forward with each.

A/C Units & Heat Pumps Are Similar…

When it comes to keeping your house cool during the warmer seasons, air conditioners and heat pumps function exactly the same. They both pull heat from inside of the home and push it outside, giving you the cool, comfortable air you need during those summer months.

Both systems use a compressor to compress refrigerant contained in the system. When gas is compressed in the compressor, its temperature rises significantly and the gas flows through a condensing coil where most of the heat is removed by the condenser fan.

The gas (which is now liquid) travels to the evaporator coil, which is located in the house, it expands and rapidly drops in temperature and cools the evaporator coil.

Again with both systems, an air handler is used to bring the warm air in your home through the cooled evaporator coil and provide the newly “conditioned” air all throughout your home.

…But Different.

While both air conditioners and heat pumps pull the warm air from your home to cool it, a heat pump can reverse the process to help keep you warm during the colder temperature months by moving warm air outside into your home. Essentially with a heat pump you have one unit that can do twice the work.

With a conventional air conditioning unit, you’ll have to have a separate heating system, like an electric or gas furnace.

What’s Best For Your Home In Charleston

Heat pumps are especially great for places that have more mild climates, where temperatures don’t dip below 40 degrees Fahrenheit very often. They’re able to simply transfer the heat, rather than generating it, keeping your energy bills down in the process. If temperatures do dip below 40, heat pumps are equipped with an emergency heating source that makes sure that you stay warm.

Many Lowcountry homeowners still prefer having a traditional a/c & furnace setup, but since much of the year here in Charleston stays relatively mild, heat pumps are a great way to keep your annual energy savings down and are becoming more popular here in Charleston, Summerville, Mt Pleasant and other areas in the Lowcountry.

Whichever option you choose to go with, be sure to fully review the system with an HVAC professional as they’ll help you find the best, most affordable option to keep you comfortable all year round.

Continue Reading