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Using a heat pump is one of the most energy-efficient ways to stay comfortable in the Baltimore and Frederick areas’ often-unpredictable weather. The multiple heat pump options available make it easier to find a system that meets your needs, but before you choose, it’s important to understand how each type works.

Air-source heat pumps – These are the standard, conventional heat pumps and the most common type. In warm weather, they work just like air conditioners. In cold weather, they work "in reverse" to draw warmth from the outdoor air and move that warmth into your home.

Because they move heat, rather than create it by burning fuel, they're more efficient for heating than gas or propane furnaces. Air source heat pumps lose some efficiency the colder it gets outside, but modern systems are still highly efficient even in temperatures below 30 degrees.

Ground-source heat pumps – Also known as geothermal heat pumps, these models use the ground in place of the air. Using durable pipes buried in the ground or submerged in water, they release heat underground in cooling mode and draw heat from the ground in heating mode.

These systems are around 44 percent more energy efficient than conventional air-source heat pumps. That’s because, while air temperatures change dramatically with the seasons, the ground temperature remains relatively constant. This means that less energy is required to extract and expel heat. 

Absorption heap pumps – The least common of heat pump options, this design is similar to air source systems in that it uses the air as a heat sink. The main difference is that it's powered not by electricity, but by another energy source such as natural gas, propane or solar-heated water.

It contains no refrigerant, but instead moves heat using a cycle of absorbing ammonia into water, pressurizing it, then boiling it out again. How cost effective this model might be for you depends on fuel and electricity costs in your area.

For trustworthy guidance on the heat pump options available to you, please contact us at Griffith Energy Services, Inc., serving the Baltimore, Frederick and Easton, Maryland areas, as well as Dover, Del., and Martinsburg, W.Va.

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