We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By clicking '' or by continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time.

Heat Pump

What is a Heat Pump?

A heat pump, as part of a central heating and cooling system, uses the outside air to both heat a home in winter and cool it in summer.

How does a heat pump work?

Technically, a heat pump is a mechanical-compression cycle refrigeration system that can be reversed to either heat or cool a controlled space. Think of a heat pump as a heat transporter constantly moving warm air from one place to another, to where it’s needed or not needed, depending on the season. Even in air that seems too cold, heat energy is present. When it’s cold outside, a heat pump extracts what outside heat is available and transfers it inside. When it’s warm outside, it reverses directions and acts like an air conditioner, removing heat from your home.

Note that heat pumps are best for moderate climates, and a supplemental heating source may be needed for lower temperatures. As a year-round solution for home comfort, Trane heat pumps can become a key part of your matched system. An independent Trane dealer can help you decide if a heat pump system is right for you.

Watch this video on how HVAC systems work to learn more details on heating and cooling systems, a heat pump’s role in the process, and how you can achieve optimal comfort in your home.

Components of a heat pump

A heat pump consists of two main components: an indoor air handler and an outdoor unit similar to a central air conditioner, but referred to as a heat pump. The outdoor unit contains a compressor that circulates refrigerant that absorbs and releases heat as it travels between the indoor and outdoor units.

Air conditioner vs. heat pump: what’s the difference?

Heat pumps and air conditioners use the same technology to cool your home. They share the same energy-efficient features. Minus a few small technical differences, heat pumps and air conditioners cool your home in the same way, with no real difference in comfort quality, energy efficiency or energy costs.

The main difference between heat pumps and air conditioners is that a heat pump can also heat your home while an air conditioner can’t. An air conditioner needs to be paired with a furnace for a home to have full central heating and cooling.

Gas furnace vs. heat pump? What’s the difference?

The main difference between the two is how they create heat. A heat pump uses electricity to move heat from one place to another. A furnace burns fuel to create heat. Because of this, a heat pump will be more energy efficient. For example, a Trane XV20i heat pump is among the HVAC industry’s most efficient, with a rating up to 20.00 SEER and 10.00 HSPF

Another difference between heat pumps and furnaces is energy efficiency and environmental impact. Because it runs on electricity, heat pumps emit zero of the harmful emissions that have been proven to contribute to climate change.

Plus, a heat pump will also cool your home in the summer, eliminating the need to purchase a separate air conditioner.

Find out if a heat pump is right for your home. (Where you live matters).

Contact a local dealer

Dealers can answer questions, help you find the right products for your home, and repair your system.

We’re here to help

Connect with our Customer Care team about your products, warranties, and dealer concerns.

Available Monday – Friday from 7am to 5pm CST


A phone