We have all heard of a furnace and an air conditioner but what on earth is a heat pump? Good question, not a lot of people know the answer. A heat pump looks like the unit that sits outside of your house which you call the air conditioner. But here’s the difference, a heat pump is a heater in the winter and an air conditioner in the summer. Neato!
In heating mode it pulls the heat out of the outdoor air and transfers (pumps) it into your home. Heat pumps do tend to lose their efficiencies however in very cold temps, mostly lower than 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Your system would then switch itself over to using your furnace for heating your home. So as you can see, you are only burning gas in the very cold weather and therefore saving money on your gas bill.
In cooling mode it acts just like a normal air conditioning unit. Pulling the heat from the home and transferring (pumping) it to the outdoors.
For an easy visual, picture a window air conditioner. When the controls are facing in the house it is an air conditioner. However, now picture the controls facing outside. It would be pulling heat from the outside and putting it in the room. There you have a simple explanation of a heat pump.