Heat Pumps in Coastal Areas

It’s August and at Summit Home Inspections in Norfolk, Virginia we are seeing all ages and brands of heat pumps working hard to cool down the buyer’s homes when we are inspecting. One system we check is the heating/cooling system and most newer homes these days have heat pumps. This blog will address heat pumps in particular how they function in coastal environments. Keep in mind we do not test the heat this time of year because it may damage the unit.

What Is A Heat Pump?

In the most simple terms, a heat pump is just your air conditioning system working in reverse. While your A/C cools your home and pumps heat outside, a heat pump would pull hot air from the outside and blow it into your home.

In more scientific terms, a heat pump transfers heat from one place to another using the HVAC components. While a heat pump cannot create hot air, it can move heat from one place to another.

Benefits of a Heat Pump

Because heat pumps rely on the use of electricity to move air from one place to another, they are extremely cost-effective and efficient. In comparison, electric heaters like space heaters, need a lot of electricity to operate. Some reputable sources believe a heat pump can reduce your energy bill by 50% compared to radiant heat with boilers, gas furnaces, and baseboard heat. High-efficiency heat pumps also dehumidify the air expelling the condensation. This is crucial in humid coastal areas and creates a more comfortable environment.

How long will your Heat Pump Last

Generally speaking, a heat pump can last 10-15 years depending on how often you use it and the climate in which you live. As home inspectors in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Sandbridge, we see a lot of rust and deterioration on the exterior condenser units. A heat pump located in a coastal area may break down quicker because of the harsh salt air environment. In order to maintain its functionality, it is important to maintain the capability of providing heating and cooling each year. A good service/maintenance contract with a reputable HVAC company will greatly extend the life of your heat pump and Summit Home Inspections recommends this.

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