Do Heat Pump Systems Work Better in the Winter or Summer?

Furnace, Heat Pump, HVAC News

If you’re looking for a new solution for regulating the temperature in your home, then you might be considering a heat pump. But how exactly do heat pumps work? And do heat pumps work just as well in the winter as they do in the summer? Is summer heat pump operation different in cold weather?

How Does Your Heat Pump Work?

Before you decide on the best option for regulating the temperature in your home, you should know how heat pumps work, and have an understanding of how heat pumps work in cold weather.

In a way, a heat pump isn’t too different from your typical air conditioner, as each keeps your home cool through a similar process. Air conditioners and heat pumps rely on refrigerants to absorb heat.

As the name implies, heat pumps work by pumping air through a compressor and into a heat exchanger – which is where it will transfer heat into your home. The refrigerant then is expanded and pumped back into another heat exchanger, which absorbs heat through air. As heat will naturally flow from a warmer area to a colder area – the cold refrigerant absorbs heat from the air around the heat exchanger. These are also known as air source heat pumps.

But a heat pump uses heat in a different way than an air conditioner does. Instead of just transferring the heat from one room to another, a heat pump transfers the heat from the outside of your home to the inside. However, this can be trickier with colder temperatures.

In cold weather, the heat pump can extract warmth from the ground or from the air outside and use it to heat your home.

How Does Your Heat Pump Work?

Possible Issues

It’s important to note that not all heat pump models are the best options for your home, as it can depend on your climate. There’s a reason cold climate heat pumps exist, and it’s because cold temperatures can have a negative effect on your regular heat pump.

Ice can make it difficult for your heat pump to cool with the outside air and the system may need regular maintenance for it to keep working effectively.

It’s also worth considering that your heat pump system might cost more electricity to function at its best performance during the winter, which means it’s not always the most energy-efficient option depending on your climate.

Alternatively, cold winter temperatures may make it better for you to consider ground source heat pumps – as they’re not drawing the heat energy from the outdoor air, but rather the ground where they’re kept. This makes them more resistant to freezing and will make it easier for them to transfer heat energy from the ground.

Possible Issues

Are Heat Pumps More Efficient?

While it can be difficult to state whether or not a heat pump is more efficient for your home, it can be determined based on your installation and outside environment.

Generally, a heat pump might be better at providing heat for your whole home than traditional heating systems due to the amount of heat they can produce.

As we’ve seen, cold climates can affect some models of heat pumps, but alternative options can make up for the difficulty of drawing heat from the outdoor temperatures.

So yes, while your heat pump might perform better in the summer, you’ll find that it has no issue keeping inside your home warm during the winter.

So long as regular maintenance is provided and you keep your heat pump from freezing up, it shouldn’t need more energy than other heating and cooling systems.

Are heat pumps more efficient?

What About Older Systems?

Of course, when compared to older heating systems like furnaces, then it can be hard to compare the prices. If you can source your own fuel for the furnaces, then it’s almost free to keep your home warm – but a heat pump works to keep your home temperature regulated all throughout the year – unlike a furnace.

What about older systems?

You’re Saving Money

As the heat pump system is more efficient than other temperature regulation systems, you won’t have to worry so much about how much energy you’re using. The heating bills are going to be lower each year, and your home will be heated more efficiently and environmentally friendly.

You're saving money


If you’re currently relying on a traditional heating system, then you could be saving a lot of time by letting your heat pump do the work. No more boilers, no more furnaces, and no more worrying about how much fuel you need to burn to keep your home warm during the winter.



If you’re planning to change your heating and cooling system, then you cannot go wrong by getting a heat pump installed. The efficiency is something that shouldn’t be ignored, and while the installation process can take time – it’s important to get it done as soon as possible before the temperature drops too low. If you’re ready for a heat pump installation, then give us a call at (614) 953-5182. At Patriot Air, our technicians are happy to help you and, with years of experience, will make sure your heat pump maximizes the comfort of your home!