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At What Temperature Do Heat Pumps Become Ineffective?

At What Temperature Do Heat Pumps Become Ineffective?

For families in search of an effective and energy-efficient way to keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer, heat pumps provide a fantastic solution. Heat pumps can work both as a furnace and an air conditioner, keeping you comfortable year-round. However, issues with your heat pump may occur when the weather drops below or rises above a certain temperature. Discover how a heat pump operates, and at what temperature the system stops working effectively.

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How a Heat Pump Works

A heat pump system uses electricity to move heat from one place to another, such as from outside to inside the home. There can still be heat found in the air when it’s cold outside. A heat pump uses metal coils to move that heat. The system is an energy-efficient way to heat homes since they do not require fuel.

System Stopping Temperature

Heat pumps operate efficiently when the outside temperature is above 40 degrees. The heat pump uses refrigerant to transfer heat. When it’s too cold outside, the system can struggle to find heat to efficiently warm your home. The system will have to rely on a backup heat source, typically heat strips, when the temperatures drop too low.

Types of Backup Heat Sources

Heat Strips

These can be installed in the HVAC system and will work even if a heat pump stops working. While heat strips are not the most energy-efficient heat source, they are a good alternative for anyone who cannot access natural gas.

Gas Furnace

Furnaces can be an efficient backup heating system. They’re more reliable and effective than the alternative backup option but come with a higher installation price tag.

At What Temperature Do Heat Pumps Become Ineffective?

Heat Pumps in Extreme Cold Temperatures

While heat pumps may struggle when temperatures start to drop, advancement in heat pump technology means most products on the market today can still work in extremely cold temperatures.

These heat pumps were designed with cold temperatures in mind.


This type of heat pump is the most popular because it’s cost-effective, reliable, and has a smaller carbon footprint. This component uses naturally existing heat in the air and brings it inside the home. Advancements to the components inside heat pumps have increased their overall efficiency when temperatures drop.

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Ductless or Mini-Split

These are a subtype of an air-source heat pump. They transfer heat from one place to another without relying on ducts. They are smaller and can be installed in any room and provide a great addition when otherwise building air ducts would be necessary.

Plumber & Technician

Heat Pump Repair & Installation Services

If you’re experiencing heat pump issues, call the experienced team at Casteel to assess your system. Our licensed technicians offer reliable heat pump system repair and installation services for homes in your area. We can solve problems ranging from freezing systems, improper heating or cooling, and inconsistent cycling. In addition, our staff offer other types of HVAC services such as furnace repair, humidifier installation, and air conditioning replacement. Our team has over 30 years of experience in the plumbing and HVAC industries. Give our technicians a call at (770) 852-8504 or book an appointment online to receive assistance with a malfunctioning HVAC system.