2 Types of Heat Pumps: Pros and Cons

If you are looking for an energy efficient way to heat your home, you should seriously consider a new kind of home heating system—heat pumps. There are many different types of heat pumps. However, all of them use heat from the area around your home to keep it warm in a cost effective way. Additionally, heat pumps double as cooling systems when the weather is hotter. If you are thinking about getting a heat pump for your home, you should be aware that different types of heat pumps come with different types of advantages and disadvantages. Knowing the difference between the types of heat pumps can be very helpful.


Geothermal heat pumps function by using water deep underground to moderate the temperature of your home, thus keeping it warm in winter and cool in summer at the cost of very little energy.

Geothermal heat pumps contain a loop of pipes that travel from a duct in your home to the ground and then back into the duct again. The pipe is full of either water or antifreeze. As the fluid travels through the pipes, it picks up the moderate temperature—warmer than your home in winter, but colder in summer—and moves it to the ducts. At this stage, the pump goes into action, using a fan to run air over the pipes, taking the hotter or colder air and circulating it throughout your home.

Geothermal heat pumps are extremely energy efficient and cost much less to use than traditional heating systems.

However, they are quite expensive to set up. Additionally, the amount of drilling that they require means that they must be installed by seasoned professionals.

Air Source

Air source heat pumps also use a pipe that circulates in and out of your home in combination with an air pump to circulate heat through your home. However, that is where the similarity ends. Air source heat pump pipes are full of a special liquid. When it is pumped into the section of pipe outside your home, it absorbs heat and expands, turning into a gas. It is then pumped inside, through a compressor, where it condenses into a liquid and gives off its heat. This is then pumped through the home as in a geothermal heat pump.

Air source heat pumps are quite efficient under most circumstances, particularly in comparison to traditional heating systems. They use less energy and cost less to run. However, due to the fact that they rely on the air outside, they do not do well in areas that are very cold for long periods of time.

There is a sub-category of air source heat pumps known as absorption heat pumps. Absorption heat pumps work in much the same way as other kinds of air source heat pumps, but instead of running on electricity to power the pumps for air and liquid, they run on a flammable fuel, usually natural gas.

Additionally, absorption heat pumps use water to soak up additional heat that is lost in normal air source heat pumps.