How Heat Pumps Work In the Finger Lakes Climate

cozy bedroom with heat pump


If you have ever had to take the trash out on a morning where temps are in the teens here in Syracuse, Rochester, Ithaca and the rest of the Finger Lakes area, you may be skeptical that a heat pump could provide efficient heat through the winter. But with a better understanding of how heat pumps work, and how cold climate heat pumps are designed for the bitter cold winters of the Finger Lakes, you might be changing your tune!

How a Heat Pump Works

Heat pumps collect and compress existing heat that is in the outside air, and send it indoors to keep your home comfortable. But what is the science behind the process of using a heat pump in the winter?

A heat pump uses an outside compressor and a circulating refrigerant line to transfer heat from the outside to the inside of a building, or vice versa. The refrigerant in the system boils at an extremely low temperature, which allows it to absorb heat from the outside air. As the refrigerant is compressed, it releases that heat energy, which is blown over a coil and into the building to provide warmth. This process happens repeatedly, with the refrigerant returning to the outside to absorb more heat after it has cooled. By moving heat instead of creating it, heat pumps can operate very efficiently and require only electricity.

How Cold Climate Heat Pumps Work

Heat pumps come in different styles and types, each with their own limitations. Standard heat pumps, which have been known to be used in warmer climates, are designed mainly for cooling but come with some heating capabilities. However, in colder climates, these types of heat pumps may not be able to keep up with the required heating load, and require a secondary source of heat. Using a standard heat pump in extremely cold temperatures can cause it to overwork or burn out, which is expensive and inconvenient.

Cold climate heat pumps, on the other hand, are specifically designed for use in colder temperatures like that of the Finger Lakes area. The compressors of cold climate heat pumps are designed to run the refrigeration cycle even in the coldest days without freezing up. 

Do Heat Pumps Work in the Finger Lakes? Yes!

If you’ve been hearing about heat pump installation for efficient home heating and cooling, the simple answer to whether a heat pump will work in a cold climate like the Finger Lakes is “yes!”. However, it will need to be the right kind of heat pump. Heat pumps are an upgrade in efficiency and control when it comes to home comfort, and they require an upgrade in knowledge and experience to make sure they are designed and installed correctly. In the homes that Halco has installed cold climate heat pumps from reputable manufacturers like LG and Mitsubishi Electric, homeowners saw the following benefits:

  • Improved indoor air quality
  • Efficient, all-electric heat in the winter
  • Quiet operation 
  • Reduced operation costs when compared to oil, propane, and electric baseboard heating

Our team can help you determine if a heat pump is worth it in a cold climate home, based on your comfort needs and the design of your home. Call Halco today and ask about heat pumps!


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