How Does A Heat Pump Work?

A heat pump is a type of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) unit that can heat or cool your home. They work similarly to an air conditioning system by collecting heat from surrounding air and moving it into a different location. This means that in the summer, the system collects heat from within your home and transfers it outside. In the winter, the unit collects heat from outdoors and transfers it inside your home.

As we approach the colder part of the year, it is important to understand how heat pumps work.

What Is a Heat Pump?

Heat pumps are installed with the purpose of controlling the temperature within your home. They achieve this by gathering heat in the air and transferring it to another location. It is important to understand that heat pumps do not generate heat, but rather collect the heat already in the air. Heat pumps will carry heat from the inside of your home to the outside or vice versa, depending on whether you want your home heated or cooled.

Parts of a Heat Pump

Refrigerant is a chemical that is present in heat pumps and other types of HVAC units. It is essential to the process of heating and cooling your home as it is the part of the system that actually transfers heat. This works because the refrigerant changes from a liquid to a gas or from a gas to a liquid as it absorbs or releases heat.

There are two types of coils in a heat pump. The first is a condenser coil which takes heat from the refrigerant and turns it from a gas into a liquid, heating up the surrounding area. A compressor feeds gas into the condenser. The second type of coil is an evaporator which adds heat to the refrigerant and turns it to a gas, cooling the surrounding area. An expansion valve controls how much liquid is allowed into the evaporator.

Cooling Mode

When in cooling mode, the heat pump will circulate refrigerant in the indoor coil. It is then passed to the compressor where it is heated up and turned into a hot gas. In order to become a gas, the refrigerant absorbs heat, which then cools down the inside of your home. The gas then flows to the outdoor coil which acts as a condenser in cooling mode. This releases the heat back into the outdoors. Since the refrigerant is now a liquid again, the cycle can restart.

Heating Mode

Heating mode acts similarly to cooling mode, only the process is reversed. Now, the heat pump captures heat from outside the home and transfers it inside. The outdoor coil is the evaporator and the indoor coil is the condenser in this process. The temperature outside plays a big role in how effective the heat pump works in heating your home. The lower the temperature, the lower the effectiveness of the process. If your heat pump alone is not able to keep your home at a comfortable temperature during the cold months, you may want to consider installing a furnace as well.

We Install and Repair Heat Pumps

A heat pump is an effective system to use for heating and cooling your home. Since it simply transfers heat between the inside and outside, it is relatively energy-efficient and can be used year-round.

If you experiencing any issues with your heat pump or need to install a new HVAC system, call Signature Heating and Cooling today.
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