How do I know if I have a heat pump?

Conventional heating systems, like a furnace, are typically located inside the home and only produce heat. Heat pump systems include a unit located outside of the home and look very similar to an air conditioning (AC) unit. The difference between the two is, a heat pump provides both heating and cooling instead of just cooling.

So how can I tell whether it's an AC unit or a heat pump? Here are some tips:

•  Since an AC unit needs to be paired with a heating system, try to locate a furnace or alternate system (e.g. oil, propane, boiler, etc.) in your home. If you can't, it may be a heat pump.

• Set your thermostat to heat mode and once you feel warm air coming out, check to see if the outdoor unit is running. 

• Find the manufacturer name and model number on the outdoor unit, and search the web for more information like a product description.

• Check for a yellow EnergyGuide label on the outdoor unit and look for the words "heat pump".

• Turn the power off to your system, then remove the thermostat display from its base. Check the wire terminal labeled O/B - a white wire or no wire indicates you likely have a conventional system instead of a heat pump.

Last Update: July 30, 2020

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