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Heating & Cooling Systems



Want to be comfortable and save money? A heat pump is one of the most advanced and efficient heating and cooling system available today.  See how a heat pump keeps your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer—with one amazing piece of equipment.

Electric Furnaces

Electric furnaces come in a variety of configurations and are similar to gas-forced air furnaces. Most electric furnaces are multi-flow units, meaning that the same unit can be positioned in a variety of ways: upflow, downflow or horizontal.

Compared to electric baseboard heating systems, forced-air electric furnaces provide the advantage of a centralized air handling system with air filtration, humidification and control of air distribution. Investing in a central electric furnace system is worthwhile if you plan on filtering the air and/or if you plan on installing a central cooling system.

Fan-Coil Wall Heaters

Fan-coil wall heaters are controlled by thermostat and use an internal blower to force air over a resistance coil. Since they provide heat via forced air, no fins are needed on the electric element. Wall heaters are available in a number of configurations and sizes to fit various space heating considerations.

Because these units use large volumes of air as their heating medium, they’re not as large as baseboard units of the same heat output, and location isn’t as critical. Electric wall heaters are easy to install since wiring is the only connection needed. These units offer the advantage of individually controlled zones of heat throughout the house.

This system can decrease energy use while increasing comfort. In the past, the major drawback of these units was fan noise. However, many of the new units are quiet enough to use in a bedroom.

Electric wall units contain resistance elements, similar to baseboard heaters, and rely on radiant heat and natural convection as well as forced air. They’re generally used for small rooms or areas like entryways or bathrooms. Wall heaters operate quietly, they distribute heat pretty quickly, and they make zoning a breeze.

Of course there are some disadvantages. Wall units are very visible. Installation can interfere with the wall insulation and make furniture placement difficult, and less expensive units can generate some fan noise.

Heat Pumps

In most homes, as much as 50%* of your monthly utility bill goes to heat and cool your home. A heat pump is one of the most advanced and efficient heating and cooling systems available. Today’s high-efficiency heat pumps keep you comfortable while saving you up to $300 annually** on your heating and cooling costs—year after year.

* Source: ENERGY STAR®

** Estimated energy costs (heating & cooling costs only) based on 2,146 sq. foot Georgia home. Electric costs based on Georgia Power residential R-20 rate and FCR-Schedule 23. Gas costs based on rolling 12-month average fixed rates (as of March 2014) of 3 largest gas marketers (excludes AGL base charges) filed with the GA PSC. Customer’s actual energy costs may vary due to individual equipment and

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- Most advanced and efficient heating and cooling system
- Keeps your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer
- Saves money on your monthly energy bills
- Last an average of 20 years
- More flexibility when building your home (no flues or vent pipes)
- Come in a variety of types, so you can choose which one is best for your business

Types of Heat Pumps

Air-Source Heat Pumps

The Air-Source Heat Pump is the most commonly used electric heat pump. The heat pump has an outside unit that works in conjunction with your indoor air handling unit to move warm air.  In the summer the heat pump operates as a standard air conditioner in cooling mode, removing warm air from inside your home and transferring it outside.  In the winter it operates as a heating system. Any air temperature above absolute zero contains some heat.  The heat pump extracts that heat from the outside air and transfers it inside your home.

Most heat pumps deliver conditioned air throughout the home using ductwork, although PTAC (Packaged Terminal Air Conditioner) heat pump systems, often referred to as through-the-wall systems, have no ductwork.

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A dual-fuel heat pump uses a combination of two technologies to provide comfortable and efficient heating and cooling year-round. A dual-fuel heat pump is an air-source heat pump designed that works in conjunction with a forced-air furnace heating system. The major different between a standard energy-efficient heat pump and a dual-fuel heat pump has to do with the auxiliary heating process.

During severe winter weather when outdoor temperatures drop below 35 degrees, a heat pump has to use an alternate source of heat. With a dual-fuel system the forced-air furnace takes over automatically to provide constant heating comfort. The forced-air furnace can be new or existing, and can be fueled with natural gas or propane. The dual-fuel heat pump works in conjunction with your present furnace, regardless of fuel type. To learn more, call 1-800-524-2421.

Geothermal Heat Pumps

An underground system with special refrigerant piping, the geothermal heat pump uses the near-constant temperature of the earth for its heating & cooling source. GeoExchange closed-loop heating and cooling systems have been at work for more than 10 years with dependable, money-saving and energy-conserving results.

How it works


The geothermal system connects an indoor heat pump with a matrix of outdoor buried plastic piping. The system circulates water through these underground pipes where it is warmed by the earth in the winter and cooled by the earth in the summer. This natural heating and cooling action, in conjunction with heat pump technology, can maintain indoor spaces at a constant, comfortable temperature without burning fossil fuels. The three types of geothermal heat pumps are:





- Energy Savings: Geothermal heat pumps are highly efficient and can save you money and energy.


- Comfort: Constant temperatures are easier to maintain.


- Low Maintenance: Fewer mechanical components and no outdoor equipment make repairs less likely.


- Durability: Closed-loop systems lie underground, protected from harsh weather.


- Quiet: Geothermal heat pumps do not have outdoor equipment, which eliminates outdoor noise.


-Environmentally Friendly: Geothermal heat pumps use the Earth’s near-constant temperature to heat and cool your home without burning fuel or polluting the environment.

Questions & Answers


What components make up a geothermal system?
The heat pump unit, the underground closed-loop system and the ductwork.


What is a closed-loop system?
A closed-loop system is a continuous loop of special buried plastic pipe connected to the indoor heat pump. A closed-loop system recirculates water under pressure, functioning as a heat exchanger with the earth. Because the water is sealed inside the piping, it remains pure, requiring less filtering and less potential maintenance.


How long will the pipe last?
High-density polyethylene pipe properly heat fused should last over 50 years. This material is unaffected by chemicals normally found in soil and has good conducting properties. PVC pipe should not be used.


Can anyone install the system?
Do-it-yourself installation is not recommended. It is best to employ IGSPHA or manufacturer certified technicians and contractors to install your geothermal system. Retrofits in buildings with existing ductwork are typically easy to install. Consult your local dealer to determine any modifications that might be necessary.


What if I need heating but have no ventilation?
Geothermal uses no combustion and therefore needs no outside venting.


Will the buried pipes affect my lawn or landscape?
After installation, closed-loop piping has no affect on grass, trees and shrubs. Installation requires displacement of some turf which can be restored with grass seed or sod.


Can a geothermal system also heat water for my house?
Yes. Using a device called a “desuperheater,” geothermal systems can preheat tank water to save up to 50% on water heating bills.

Additional Resources

For more on GeoExchange heating and cooling systems, visit these websites:


Electric Power Research Institute*
Geo-Heat Center*


*By clicking the link, you will leave and transfer directly to the website of a third party which is not part of Georgia Power Company. The Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy on that website will apply.

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The VRF, or variable refrigerant flow, system is a heat pump that uses refrigerant for both heating and cooling. VRFs do not have ductwork as a component of the overall system. They serve as a great application for homes and living spaces where installing ductwork is not possible or desired.

Commonly known as a ductless heat pump, a VRF system allows one outdoor condensing unit to be connected to multiple indoor units. Typically, these indoor units can be mounted on the wall or ceiling and come in a variety of styles. Each unit has its own thermostat, providing the right amount of heat or conditioned air for that zone. In addition, both heating and cooling can occur at the same time with a VRF system. So if the bedrooms in the back of the house need cool air, while the front of the house requires heat, the system can handle it.

VRF systems offer many benefits including increased energy efficiency, design flexibility during renovation or construction and quiet operation. Systems can be controlled with a central monitoring application that allows users to control the entire system from a single location or via the web.

There is minimal energy loss with VRFs as compared to 30-40% energy loss with traditional forced-air systems that use ductwork in unconditioned places like attics. By operating at varying speeds, VRF systems work only at the needed rate, allowing for substantial energy savings.

Radiant Heaters

Radiant heaters distribute heat the way the sun does, using radiation. Like heat from the sun, heat from a radiant heater travels outward striking objects directly in its path. The heat is then conducted from the heated surfaces to the surrounding air, where it sets up convection currents, gently distributing heat to the space as the warmed air rises.

Radiant heat is popular because most people find it comfortable (although it is not always the most economical way to heat)—they feel warm from the radiation, even though the air around them may be cooler than would normally be comfortable.

Homes equipped with electric radiant heating systems have no furnace, ducts, flue, or chimney.

The heating elements may be ceiling-mounted electric resistance wires installed between two layers of wallboard or just beneath the plaster. This location is convenient because, from the ceiling, heat can easily radiate to the floor, walls and occupants. However, places producing “shadows”—like under tables, for example—may feel cold because they do not receive direct radiation.

In mild climates, the radiant heat wiring is often located in the floor, usually embedded in a concrete slab. Baseboard panels, wall heaters and portable units are also used for resistance electric heating.

Another familiar form of radiant heat is the heat lamp commonly used in bathrooms to take the chill off people exiting the shower, and in cold garage work areas. These lamps are inexpensive and are ideal when the goal is warming people, not the surrounding air.

While electric resistance heating is quiet and comfortable, it is relatively expensive to operate. Even though it is considered close to 100%* efficient at turning electricity into heat, it is still pretty inefficient when generation and transmission losses are taken into account.

* Source: