DB Heating & Cooling, Inc. Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Heat Pumps’

3 Things You May Not Know about Heat Pumps

Monday, February 15th, 2016

A heat pump is just like your standard central air conditioning system, aside from a few major changes that allow it to heat as well. We often recommend heat pumps to homeowners searching for a new comfort system, but we find that a large number of our customers do not know much about them. Here, we offer 3 pieces of information that may be new to you. Learn more about heat pumps below!

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How Heat Pumps Work for both Heating and Air Conditioning

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

More and more homeowners countrywide are installing heat pumps for their myriad of benefits. Perhaps the most unique benefit to using a heat pump, however, is its ability to act as both a heater and an air conditioner. Let’s examine how this functionality is made possible, and why it’s such a huge advantage for the heat pump over other systems.

Anatomy of a Heat Pump

In order to understand how a heat pump can switch functions, you must first understand the different parts of a heat pump. There are two main parts we’ll be discussing in this part, the interior unit and the exterior unit. As you might have guessed, the interior unit is inside the house while the exterior unit is outside. These two units are connected by a refrigerant line, which flows into a coil housed in each one. These coils are the most important part of the system. When the heat pump is turned on, one coil will evaporate refrigerant while the other will condense it back into liquid. When the refrigerant evaporates, it leeches thermal energy out of the air and into the coil. When the refrigerant is condensed back into liquid, it releases the captured thermal energy so that the system can heat the house.

The Reversing Valve

The key to the heat pump’s dual functionality is a part called the “reversing valve.” In a normal system, like an air conditioner, the refrigerant flows only one way between the two coils. There’s a condenser coil and an evaporator coil, and the two never switch. The reversing valve works by reversing the flow of refrigerant, thereby making the condenser coil the evaporator coil and vice versa. This means that each coil can either take heat from the area around it or release heat instead. It is in this way that the heat pump can move heat back and forth in either direction between the house and the outside air.

If you’d like to know more about heat pumps, call DB Heating & Cooling. We install heat pumps throughout Bergen County.

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Common Myths about Heat Pumps

Friday, April 4th, 2014

Heat pumps are newer to the HVAC world than air conditioners, boilers, and furnaces, although they have a history going back to the 1940s. Because they entered homes only after a longer period in commercial use, a number of basic misunderstandings still surround them. We’ll look at a few of these and try to clear them up. We hope this will give you a better idea of what a heat pump can do for your home comfort.

DB Heating & Cooling has extensive experience with heat pump repair in Emerson, NJ, as well as installation and maintenance services. Rely on us when it comes to heating and cooling your home.

“Heat pumps are a separate AC and heater packaged together.”

Unlike the units that contain an air conditioner and a furnace in one cabinet, only sharing the same blower, heat pumps are single machines that use the same action to provide both heating and cooling. The only difference in a heat pump between the its modes is the direction that the refrigerant moves. In heating mode, the refrigerant carries heat from outside and moves it inside; in cooling mode, the refrigerant carries heat from inside and moves it outside.

“Heat pumps are fine for air conditioning, but can’t handle cold weather.”

There is some truth in this… but not much. Heat pumps work as well at cooling as any standard AC of the same size. Their heating power is not as strong. However, a heat pump can certainly handle cold temperatures, and it only starts to lose efficiency in extreme cold weather. Most heat pumps are equipped with electric resistance coils that turn on when the outside temperature gets too cold, so your home will be comfortable no matter the outside temperature.

“Heat pumps are expensive to run.”

This confusion comes from thinking that having heating and cooling power in one unit means the system drains power faster. But as we noted above, heat pumps use the same process for both modes. A heat pump in cooling uses as much power as an air conditioner. A heat pump in heating mode is far more efficient than an electric furnace. Your heat pump only requires a small amount of fuel (electricity) to move heat instead of creating it. Studies have shown that a family switching from an electric furnace to a heat pump can save up to 30% off their heating bills over winter.

If you need service technicians who cut through the confusion around heat pumps and bring you the installation, maintenance, or heat pump repair in Emerson, NJ you need, call DB Heating & Cooling.

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The Reversing Valve and Heat Pump Repair

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

What is the best advantage a heat pump offers a homeowner? Is it the energy saving in heating mode, the ease with which it hooks up to a pre-existing ductwork system, or its safe operation? Those are all excellent benefits, but we think most homeowners would answer that a heat pump’s #1 advantage is that it provides both heating and cooling. Two comfort solutions combined into one convenient package. Changing from one mode to the other only requires adjusting the thermostat.

The component in a heat pump that allows the unit to act as both a heater and an air conditioner is called the reversing valve. If the reversing valve malfunctions, your heat pump will remain stuck in one mode or the other, and you’ll lose its best benefit. But with the help of DB Heating & Cooling and our Emerson, NJ heat pump repair technicians, you can have your heat pump back to full operation in no time at all.

The reversing valve: why it is so important

A heat pump works in the same manner as a standard air conditioner: a chemical blend called refrigerant moves through a closed loop in the system, shifting through a process of evaporation (absorbing heat) and condensation (releasing heat). This moves heat from one location to another. An air conditioner can only run this process a single direction, moving heat from indoors to the outdoors.

A heat pump can reverse the refrigerant’s direction, causing the unit to move heat from outdoors to the indoors. The reversing valve, which sits on the refrigerant line, takes care of this task. In agitated state (an electric charge runs to the valve) it moves refrigerant one direction. In relaxed state (no electric charge) it moves it the other direction. The manufacturer sets which state applies to which mode.

Like any electro-mechanical device, a reversing valve can fail. If you discover that your heat pump remains in one mode no matter how you set it, then it is likely the reversing valve has broken. This isn’t an issue you can repair yourself. A professional will need to come to your home, open the cabinet of the heat pump, and remove the valve from the refrigerant line to replace it with a new working unit.

Keep your heat pump working its best for you

A heat pump is the comfort system for all seasons… and make sure you keep it yours that way with prompt repairs when it shows signs of trouble. When you need heat pump repair in Emerson, NJ, call the experts at DB Heating & Cooling.

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Popular Home Heating Options in Paramus, NJ

Monday, December 17th, 2012

If you are looking for a new home heating system and find that you are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options on the market, don’t despair. You are not alone. Having a number of different options available is a great luxury to have, but a new home heating system is a big investment and you need to be sure that you are getting the best possible system for your home and personal heating habits. That is why it is so important that you work with a home heating expert from DB Heating & Cooling when considering which option is best for your Paramus, NJ home. Here is some basic information about some popular home heating options.


Furnaces are probably the most common type of heating systems available. Furnaces generally use electricity or natural gas as a fuel source. The air that they heat is sent into a ductwork system by a blower mechanism. The ductwork then distributes the heated air throughout your home and also supplies more air to be heated via return vents.

Heat Pumps

Like a furnace, heat pumps use a ductwork system to circulate heated air throughout your home. Heat pumps are unique in the way in which they heat that air, though. They do not consume a fuel but rather transfer existing heat into or out of your home. This heat transfer method makes them extremely efficient at heating your home.


Furnaces and heat pumps can be very effective home heating options, but ductwork is a leading cause of energy loss in a number of homes. Boilers do not use a forced air system to distribute heat. Rather, hot water or steam from the boiler is circulated throughout your home. The heat is dispersed by radiators or baseboards. This eliminates energy loss associated with air ducts.

There is no “best” home heating option, but there is one out there that is best for your home. The heating professionals at DB Heating & Cooling can help you determine which option is best for you. Contact us today when considering a new heating option for your Paramus, NJ home.

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Troubleshooting Your Problematic Hillsdale Heat Pump

Monday, September 10th, 2012

If your Hillsdale heat pump isn’t working properly, there are a number of things that might be wrong. But, where do you start and how do you solve these problems quickly and inexpensively? Here are some tips for common heat pump problems.

Low Air Flow

Your heat pump is designed to provide steady air flow to the entire house. When it was originally installed, the technician sized it to do so. If it suddenly stops providing enough air flow to your entire house or if the air flow it provides isn’t as comfortable as you’re used to, something is probably wrong.

More specifically, there is likely an issue with the heat pump itself since the device will compensate for most external problems by running longer and harder. A quick inspection will often rule out serious problems, so you should have someone inspect your device as soon as you notice a problem.

Leaky Duct

If there is an external problem, such as leaky ductwork, it tends not to be as noticeable right away. Often, when ducts are leaking, air flow problems will occur only in certain rooms of your home. Even then, the heat pump might be able to maintain the right temperature in those rooms – you’ll just have a higher energy bill because of the energy loss in the ductwork.

The best way to determine what is happening and how best to tackle the problem is to have someone test your ductwork for leaks, a relatively quick process.

High Energy Bill

If your energy bill suddenly increases dramatically, it is usually due to energy loss somewhere in the transfer between the heat pump and the rooms of your home. Leaky ducts can be the culprit, but so too can the air handler or the heat pump itself. If you notice a sudden increase in your energy bill, look for other symptoms like uneven heating or cooling in certain parts of your home or noises coming from the ductwork or your air handler.

No matter what other symptoms accompany the increase, you probably need repairs. Your home may still be comfortable now, but the heat pump can only make up for the problem for so long and in the interim, it is being put under excessive stress that reduces its lifespan. For any heat pump service in the Hillsdale area, give DB Heating & Cooling a call!

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Emerson Heat Pump Tip: Easy Ways to Lower Your Heat Pump’s Energy Bill

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

One of the biggest advantages of a heat pump in Emerson is that it is highly efficient for both heating and cooling. There is always room for improvement, though, so here some tips to lower your energy bill even more:

  • Get it checked. It’s been said many times before, but it’s always worth saying again: consistent maintenance is one of the biggest keys to keeping any appliance running efficiently. Get your heat pump inspected by an Emerson HVAC professional at least once a year. This will keep it in good shape and provide an opportunity to make small repairs, before they have a chance to turn into big problems.
  • Keep it clean. When it comes to HVAC equipment, a clean unit is an efficient unit. Check and replace the filters regularly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep the coils and fan clean. This will also be part of the annual maintenance, but you can – and should — do touch up cleaning on your own.
  • Install a thermostat. A programmable thermostat is a great energy efficiency tool for any home heating and cooling system, not just a heat pump. A thermostat will keep the temperatures lower during the day or any time no one is home, so that you are not wasting heat.
  • Let it run. It may seem counterintuitive, but turning off a heat pump to save energy may actually do more harm than good. Heat pumps operate most efficiently when they stay running on a regular basis. The components don’t need to take time to spin up, and the refrigerant stays warm so it can keep moving. Your best bet is to have your heat pump connected to a programmable thermostat, program it and then stop thinking about it. You’ll save a bundle over manual operation.
  • Protect the outdoor unit. The outdoor portion of your heat pump has to put up with a lot from the elements. Strong winds can damage them or negatively impact the efficient operation of the pump, so keep the outdoor unit protected from wind.

These simple measures, in combination with a highly efficient heat pump, will help slash your energy bills. In addition, check to see if your Emerson heat pump is eligible for a federal tax credit, which can save you even more money. Call DB Heating & Cooling today to learn more about how to save energy with your HVAC system!


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Westwood Heat Pump Question: What Size Heat Pump Is Right for My Home?

Monday, August 27th, 2012

One of the most important questions to answer when purchasing and installing any new heating or cooling system in Westwood, no matter what type, is what size is best for your home. You need something that has enough capacity to heat or cool your whole home comfortably; otherwise your house will consistently be at an undesirable temperature.

Some people might think that the quickest solution to this problem is to just buy a system that they are sure has a capacity larger than the size of their home. You may even be tempted to get the biggest model out there, under the logic that the biggest is the best and it will be sure to be able to cover your whole house.

While this line of thinking might make sense to you, it’s actually not a good idea. The problem with this “solution” is that you can wind up with a heat pump that is considerably too large for your needs, which means your home will consistently be either too cool or too hot, and your energy bills will be unnecessarily high.

The best way to choose a new heat pump is to have a professional do a load calculation in your home. This can be a highly technical process, so it is best to leave it to the pros. However, here are some quick tips and other things to consider on the subject:

  • There are a lot of variable to consider in doing a calculation like this. A contractor doing a load calculation will consider the type of construction, what kind of insulation you have installed, what kind of windows you have, whether there is an attic, how many people live there and many more factors.
  • Also, since heat pumps are used for both heating and cooling, different contractors may opt to do the calculation in different ways. Some will estimate capacity based on heating, while others will base it on cooling. Ask to see which is the case for any estimate you receive.
  • If you are getting a new heat pump as a replacement for an existing one, or even a different heating/cooling system, check the capacity of the unit you are replacing. That can be a good place to start. You will at least be in the right ballpark.

All of this means doing some extra leg work up front, but getting the proper sized heat pump for your Westwood home is well worth the effort. Call DB Heating & Cooling today to learn more about heat pump installation!

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Waldwick HVAC Question: Do Heat Pumps Work for Air Conditioning?

Monday, June 4th, 2012

It’s possible that in the course of your search for a new air conditioning system, you read or were told about heat pumps. Doesn’t sound right, does it – heat pumps providing cooling for your home? Regardless of the seeming misnomer, heat pumps are actually much older and more reliable cooling technology than you know. And once you understand how these units work, the name makes much more sense.

What Is a Heat Pump?

Technically every refrigerant containing air conditioner is some form of heat pump. A heat pump is a device that removes heat from one area and transfers it to another. So, in the case of your Waldwick air conditioner, warm air cycles into the condenser, the heat is removed, and the cooled air is circulated back through your home. The actual science behind this is slightly more complicated, but the gist is simple – cold air isn’t produced and then pumped into your home; warm air is removed.

Your refrigerator and freezer operate under the same principle. It works so well that it’s been a standard technology for nearly 100 years, albeit with quite a few upgrades and enhancements. So, if an air conditioner already is a heat pump, why are these devices called something different? Because heat pumps can do so much more.

Heat Producing Heat Pumps

A true heat pump can work in two directions. It can extract heat from your home or it can extract heat from outside and pump it into your home. A true heat pump offers year round climate control because it both heats and cools – not too shabby if you think about the cost of a furnace and central AC system.

So, back to the main question – should you purchase a heat pump for your air conditioning needs? The short answer is “it depends”. For the most part, a heat pump is comparable to the same air conditioning model in terms of energy efficiency and capacity. The major difference is its ability to heat your home. So, if you are interested in ditching the furnace or boiler, it may be a great upgrade. If not, a standard air conditioner can get the job done equally well. If you are interesting in learning more about how a heat pump would work in your Waldwick home, give DB Heating & Cooling a call today!


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Heat Pumps and Zone Control Systems: A Tip from Bergen County

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

When you’re putting a heat pump in your Bergen County home, it may also be a great time to look into having a zone control system put in as well. These types of systems can do a lot to both lower your energy bills and make your home as comfortable as possible throughout the year.

Zone control systems actually allow you to set different temperatures in different parts of your home. They use a system of dampers to direct more heat to certain areas and less to others. For instance, you may like to keep the living room nice and cozy in the winter because you’re typically just lounging around when you’re in there.

When you’re working in the kitchen, on the other hand, you’re usually generating some heat yourself from the stove and oven, so you don’t need to keep the temperature quite as high as it is in other parts of the house in order for the kitchen to remain comfortable. Of course, in the summer, these situations are likely reversed, and a zone control system will allow you to adjust accordingly.

Having the type of refined temperature control that zone control systems provide can be beneficial on several levels. It certainly helps make your home more comfortable, but it can also make it easier to reduce some of your home heating and cooling costs because you don’t have to heat or cool your whole house to keep it that way.

Zone control systems can also be a great way to end those constant thermostat battles that tend to erupt from when certain members of the household prefer one temperature, while the rest of the people in the house are more comfortable with another.

If you’re thinking of integrating a zone control system with your heat pump, you should make sure that the heat pump you get is as compatible as possible with this type of system. Most heat pumps will, in fact, work with zone control systems, but certain types are better than others.

The most important thing to look at when you’re trying to find the best heat pump to fit with a zone control system is the type of compressor the unit has. Heat pumps are available with one-speed, two-speed and multi-speed compressors and this affects how well they work at part of a zone control system. For best results, it’s good to opt for a two-speed or multi-speed compressor when you’re installing a zone control system as well.

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