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Serving The Northland

Serving the Northland


Mesaba Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

Is a Heat Pump Your Next Best Choice?


In the middle of winter, when you’re paying the most per month for home climate control that you will all year, you might be thinking about heating efficiency and what your options might be. Is there a way to save money on heating while staying just as cozy, or even more so? Perhaps a heat pump could help you with this.

How Heat Pumps Work

A heat pump is essentially a reversible air conditioner. There’s an outdoor unit with a compressor which pressurizes refrigerant and sends it circulating through a system of coils, carrying heat from one place and dispersing it somewhere else. A heat pump can either conduct heat out of your home in the summer or, by switching the reversing valve, bring heat into your home during colder weather.

Heat Pumps in Cold Climates

It may not seem like a heat pump could warm a home when it’s colder outside than you’d like the inside to be. But the trick here is that the outdoor air doesn’t need to be warmer than the indoor air. It only has to be warmer than the refrigerant, which is extremely cold, because it is the difference in temperature, and not the specific temperature, which matters.

When temperatures generally stay above freezing, as they do in Minnesota during stretches of spring and fall when it’s still chilly enough for us to use our heat, the heat pump is by far the most efficient heating system there is. It only uses a fraction of the energy any other system uses because instead of generating heat, which is very energy-intensive, it only moves it from one place to another.

But as we know all too well, temperatures in our area end up dropping below freezing and often staying below freezing for long stretches. This makes the heat pump less effective, and also much less efficient. What’s the solution? Using the heat pump during the times of year when you can, and saving a great deal of money during those seasons, or using a dual fuel system, which gives the heat pump a bit of backup.

Ductless Mini Splits

Although it’s been fifty years since ductwork started to be commonly included in newly-constructed homes, it was slower to catch on in colder climates because it was mostly motivated by the need to install the newly-popular central air conditioning systems. Many homes in our area have no ducts, because they have no central air and use boilers for heating.

A heat pump can use a system called a ductless mini-split. When the refrigerant coils enter the home, they split, each line traveling to a different air handler in the home. Each air handler cools (or heats) the air right there, just before sending it out the vent. And they each have their own thermostat, so you can adjust the temperature in various zones, further reducing your energy use.

If you’ve been thinking about your next heating installation in Grand Rapids, MN, you should definitely think about whether a heat pump might be exactly what you need. We’re always happy to answer any questions you might have.

Reach out to Mesaba Heating & Air Conditioning today. Service to you is success to us!

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