|Whole House Mechanical, LLC
1025 Hwy 212
Michigan City, IN 46360
So what exactly is an air-source heat pump??? I have asked the same question, “How can the same unit that sits
outside my house both heat and cool the house??? How is that possible?” The air-source heat pump is an amazing
piece of equipment, which uses the indoor and outdoor air to both heat and cool a home. In the summer time, an air-
source heat pump works the same as a condensing unit by removing the heat and humidity from inside the house and
dispersing the heat outside. (To see how a condensing unit operates click here)
Both the condensing unit and heat pump look the same and use the same components to operate: the compressor (1),
the indoor evaporator coil (2), the outdoor condenser coil (3), and the indoor blower on the furnace or air handler (4).
However, the difference is that a heat pump has a
reversing valve (5). When there is a call for heat the
reversing valve reverses the flow of refrigerant so it flows
in the opposite direction. Instead of removing the heat
from the indoor air, a heat pump uses the heat from the
outdoor air to heat your home. Yes, even in below
50-degree temperatures, there is heat in outdoor air.
Just how does this work, you ask? The refrigerant in a
heat pump is compressed by the compressor in the
condensing unit from a low-temperature, low-pressure gas
into a high-temperature, high-pressure gas. The gas then
enters the evaporator coil. The indoor air blowing across
the hot evaporator coil is heated and then circulated
throughout the house. As the heat is extracted from the
hot gas, the gas is cooled converting the gas into a liquid.
The liquid flows outside and through the outdoor
condensing coil. The heat in the outdoor air being drawn
across the coil by the condenser fan causes the liquid to
“boil” back into a low temperature, low-pressure gas
before re-entering the compressor to begin the process all
In our area of the Northern Midwest, a typical winter consists of several months with below freezing temperatures. A heat
pump is designed to operate at outdoor temperatures above 32-degrees, so a heat pump system does not replace the
need for a gas furnace or electric air handler. The benefit of having a heat pump is that it uses less energy to operate,
saving you money on utility bills to heat your home in the spring and fall.
Heat pumps are rated in Heating Seasonal Performance Factor or HSPF. Today's heat pumps are rated at 6.8 HSPF or
higher. Because a heat pump also provides air conditioning, the unit will have both the HSPF for the heating and the
SEER (Season Energy Efficiency Ratio) for the air conditioning. The higher the HSPF and SEER number, the more
efficient the system - saving you money on your utility bills.
Whole House Mechanical, LLC
“Help! My furnace is not working! What should I do?”
is in the “ON” position.
- Check the air filter on the furnace. A dirty filter restricts the airflow, which may cause the safety switch on the furnace to not allow
the furnace to turn on. Be sure furnace filter is checked monthly. (A 1” filter usually lasts for one month.) The arrow on filter
should point towards the furnace. Dirty filters can lower the efficiency of your furnace and cost more in gas and electric
- Check to make sure the thermostat is on the “HEAT” mode position.
- Check to make sure batteries in the thermostat are not dead, an indication would be no display on the thermostat.
- Check to make sure power switch (toggle switch that looks like a light switch) is in the “ON” position.
- Check to make sure the doors are securely on the furnace (there is a kill switch that will inactivate the furnace if the doors are
- Check circuit breaker panel to make sure furnace breaker
not have blockage such as a bird’s next or debris.
- Make sure the gas is turned on to the house and furnace.
- Make sure the exhaust and/or fresh air intake pipe does
a service technician to inspect the furnace and diagnose the
- Call Whole House Mechanical at (219) 879-6264 to schedule
I tend to take things for granted such as electricity until there is a power outage. And I still walk around a dark house trying
to turn on the light switch out of habit. Earlier this summer, northwest Indiana was struck by powerful storms that knocked
out power several times and for days in some areas. It was during those times, I stumbled around my dark house bruising
my shins trying to remember who put whatever it was I just tripped over there, where I put the flashlight the last time I used
it, and if I even had a candle in the house. Thankfully, my husband had an old1950’s Briggs & Stratton generator to keep
the refrigerator running and a few lights to light our way. The generator had a missing muffler that made it run so loud I
thought the neighbors were going to start complaining of noise pollution. Due to the age of the old generator, it consumed
so much gas it needed to be re-filled every four hours (which made for very long and sleepless nights). Thankfully, the
generator kept the food cold in the refrigerator until the power was restored for the second time in less than a week before
sputtering it’s last noisy breath and went to generator heaven.
After we said our good-byes to our deceased generator, we began considering the installation of an automatic stand-by
generator. The convenience of one of these units sounds like a dream come true. No hauling the generator out of the
garage and trying to pull-start it in the pouring rain (which is usually when the power happens to go out), no more tripping
hazards from having extension cords run throughout the house, no mid-night gas re-fills, and no more trying to sleep to the
roar of the generator. The generator would automatically turn on when the power goes out.
We are fortunate to be connected to city water at our home so we at least had working plumbing and hot water even when
the electricity was out. However, I grew up in the country and that is a totally different story. We braced for every storm by
filling buckets and every pot and pan with water in case the power went out because there would be no running water. I
can remember melting snow by the fire for water during a winter power outage that lasted several days. As a kid it felt like
camping, as an adult I prefer to have running water.
I have always loved storms, from the crashing lightning and rolling thunder to the blowing snows of a blizzard. But I have
become accustom to the modern conveniences such as light so I won't run into things in the dark, the furnace to heat my
home on a cold winter's day, and not worrying about the food in the refrigerator spoiling so I want my power to stay on
during and after a storm. The solution is an automatic stand-by generator.
Written by Sarah Schwinkendorf
An automatic stand-by generator runs on natural or propane gas and is connected to the existing
gas supply line for the home. A sub-panel is connected to the existing electrical panel. The
generator powers the designated circuits in the sub-panel when the power goes out. Residential
generators range in size from 7 kilowatts to over 45 kilowatts. The average size home would need
a 15-kilowatt generator to power the major components: refrigerator, furnace, condensing unit,
water heater (if need for electric to run), and lighting for home comfort until the power is restored.
Click here to visit the Carrier generator interactive website.
For more information on an automatic stand-by generator or for an estimate, call our office at (219)
Air-Source Heat Pumpt 101
Clean & Check $69.00
For Inspection of one Furnace
Limit one coupon per customer. Cannot be combined with any other coupon.
Please present coupon at time of service.
Does not include filter or parts.
Expires 10/31/2010 Print Coupon