Heat Pump Basics: An Easy Guide for Homeowners

Furnaces are bound to come to mind when you think “heating system,” but they aren’t the only way to warm up your Mequon-area home. At Cliff Bergin & Associates, we know that in some cases, a heat pump can work just as well. In this blog, our experts will explore heat pump basics — including what these systems do and how they can actually be used to both heat and cool your house. Learn more below, and call Cliff Bergin for expert installation: 262-242-2456.

couple drinking coffee indoors on cold winter day

What Is a Heat Pump?

It’s a system that extracts heat from either the air or the ground outside and transfers it into your house, moving it where and when it’s needed using minimal energy. But these units can also do more than that. Despite its name, a heat pump can also pull double duty, acting as an air conditioner in the warm weather. The dual versatility makes it a convenient and energy-efficient choice you can use almost all year round.

What’s the Difference Between a Furnace and a Heat Pump?

Other than how the two systems generate heat, the biggest difference is when they generate it. Heat pumps work best when the temperature is cold but not Wisconsin-cold—in other words, when the temperature is above 40 degrees. This is because they work by drawing heat from the air or ground outside. If the temperature gets too cold out, there won’t enough heat to draw inside. When it gets colder than 40 degrees, the furnace will kick in to handle the deeper freeze.

Benefits of a Heat Pump

Energy Efficiency

Transferring heat requires much less energy than creating it does. This means that as long as the temperature outside is warm enough for heat pumps, they will cost less in terms of energy usage than a more traditional heating system would.


Heat pumps are a great way to keep warm during chilly weather, but they are also a fantastic alternative to a traditional air conditioner. The energy efficiency of these units also extends to cooling mode, meaning you can use them in place of a normal A/C and stay just as comfortable without spending as much on energy.

Environmentally Friendly

Another bonus is that with heat pumps, warmth is generated using electricity, which leads to fewer carbon emissions and a greater environmental impact than solely using a furnace.

For Ultimate Comfort, Consider a Heat Pump-Furnace Combo

Though a heat pump and furnace might seem like alternatives at first glance, they’re actually a match made in heaven. Between the two, you have year-round comfort:

  • A heat pump can replace an air conditioner in the summer to provide nice, cool temperatures.
  • In the fall and mild winter, heat pumps can switch into heating mode.
  • When the Wisconsin winter truly hits and temperatures are ice cold, your furnace can take over without missing a beat.

Heat pumps are also perfect for zoning systems, as they can adapt to reach your desired temperature from room to room.

Cliff Bergin—the Better Choice for All Your Heating Needs

At Cliff Bergin, we highly recommend and install Carrier® furnaces and heat pumps for reliability. So, no matter what it feels like outside, you know that when you choose our experts, you’ll be as comfortable as possible inside. Call us today for service: 262-242-2456.