For those who live in moderate climates, or who need more air conditioning than heating, heat pumps are a great solution. One heat pump can both heat and cool a home. It works on the same principle as your kitchen refrigerator-- pulling heat out through a series of coils filled with refrigerant. The difference is that a heat pump can also pull heat in, reversing the cooling process in fall and winter. The reason heat pumps are able to do this is the same reason that heat pumps are not the best option in very cold climates. Heat pumps pull heat from outside air, or the ambient temperature undergound, and transfer it to inside the home. If it gets too cold, there simply isn't enough heat the transfer, and the condensation created by the process can freeze. Some heat pumps have electrical heaters built in to defrost the coils, but this can detract from the energy efficiency that makes heat pumps so attractive in the first place.
That's why the Carrier® website holds Tennesse up as the ideal example climate for heat pumps. They explain, "Generally, a heat pump heats best down to about 40 degrees. Below that outdoor air temperature, you may want a furnace as your primary heating source." Some heat pumps can be used in conjunction with traditional gas, oil, or electric furnaces in colder climates, but here in the South East this may not be necessary. Heat pumps are also a great solutions for those who want to use ductless HVAC systems, whether to better finesse the temperatures of different rooms, or because of a historic rennovation where installing ducts would be costly, invasive, or impossible. For those with forced air, heat pumps can be used in conjunction with furnaces and air conditioning units.
A liscensed HVAC specialist will be able to tell you if a heat pump is the right heating and air solution for your home. It depends, of course, on your budget, the size of your home, existing HVAC equipment, the local climate, and where you stand on matters like desired energy efficiency, noise, and environmental friendliness. If a heat pump is a good fit for your home, you could be in luck for lower utilities bills and a more efficient system. Heat pumps generally have a long lifespan, and shouldn't be prone to breakdowns if you have them regularly serviced by an HVAC technician.
As always, feel free to contact Hiwassee Chase at 423-472-4569 with any questions, or to find out if a heat pump is right for your home.