What Are Heat Pumps?

Heat PumpsA heat pump is essentially an air conditioner that can run backward to provide heat. Heat pumps are usually split systems, like a furnace and air conditioning unit combination, with the heat pump taking the place of the AC unit outside. These systems are mostly matched with an air handler or blower coil connected to your ductwork system, but there are some unique packaged or wall-sleeve varieties that are used in condos or similar applications. Beltway Air Conditioning & Heating has been installing heat pumps for as long as they’ve been made, so we can help if you need a heat pump repair or replacement. We have accounts with all key suppliers to ensure access to the right products for every home.

Why Should I Consider a Heat Pump?

Many homes in Baltimore City & Anne Arundel County are heated primarily by heat pumps as they can be more cost effective heating systems than oil or propane furnaces. If you heat with either of these fuels in the Baltimore Metro area, you should call today to get a free evaluation of the annual savings available to you by installing a heat pump. To keep investment costs down, you may even be able to keep your oil or propane unit to act as a backup, which all heat pump systems in our area require. Obviously, natural gas is still the best choice if you have access to it, but a heat pump is a close second. If you have a long-term outlook, or you just want to install the most efficient system possible, a geothermal heat pump solution might be the best fit for your home. Some geothermal heat pumps can be 30-40% more efficient than the top of the line “air-source” heat pumps, and they can provide hot water too.

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Heat Pump FAQs


The only way to get a meaningful recommendation is to set an appointment with the professionals at Beltway Air Conditioning & Heating. When we come to your home, our heat pump experts will evaluate all aspects of your home and your preferences to recommend the right system for your needs and budget.


That is a common misconception, but it is simply not true. They work more efficiently in a warmer climate, but more than 70% of our normal heating season is above 32 degrees (the record-setting cold we have been experiencing so far this winter is obviously not the norm) so there is ample opportunity for savings. We can set up your system as “dual fuel” so your system automatically switches over from heat pump to your oil, propane, or natural gas system when needed.


No, but there are options for you too. Ductless split systems and/or adding ductwork to your home can be accomplished in most cases. We’ve had great success customizing solutions to meet homeowner needs using a combination of ducted and ductless split heat pump systems.


Yes, but there may be additional work needed to modify the ductwork system to distribute the heat properly or there simply may be limitations to the performance. We try to make sure there are realistic expectations if not making modifications as it can be hard to heat from above.


We would certainly recommend them if we were further south, but the return on investment is hard to quantify in our climate since they are taking the heat out of the house more than six months a year.