3 Things You Should Know About Heat Pumps

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Are you curious about getting a heat pump for your home, but not sure about how they actually work? If so, it will help to know an overview of this heating and cooling method.

What Heat Pumps Are 

A heat pump is incredibly unique because of its ability to cool and heat your home. There is an outdoor unit that contains the fan, condenser coil, compressor, and reversing valve. There is also an air handler inside the home that contains the evaporator coil, which is connected to the outdoor unit with a refrigerant line. A blower motor within the air handler helps push the air through the ductwork.

How Heat Pumps Work

Much like central air conditioning, a heat pump works in the same way when it cools your home by using refrigerant. The refrigerant goes from a liquid to a gas, and then back into a liquid once again. 

When the thermostat calls to cool down your home with air conditioning, the outdoor compressor will compress the refrigerant and turn it into a hot gas. The heat pump absorbs heat from the inside of your home through the refrigerant and transfers it to the outside of your home. The refrigerant is compressed through a suction line, which makes the gas very hot. This gas then runs through the condenser coil, which allows the heat to dissipate and cool off. 

The gas then turns into a cool liquid and travels to the indoor air handler where hot air has been collected. The air travels over the evaporator coil which is filled with the cool liquid refrigerant. The refrigerant then absorbs the heat in the air, and that air is then blown through the rest of the house. The refrigerant then travels to the outside of your home where the heat is dissipated and the cycle repeats itself. 

The heating process works the same way but in reverse. The evaporator coil becomes the condenser, which is where the heat is dissipated into the air before it is pushed through the vents to the rest of your home.

How Heat Pumps Are Affected By The Weather

One thing to keep in mind about heat pumps is that they are impacted by the weather. Heat pumps do not work well in temperatures below freezing due to a lack of outdoor heat. When this happens, a heat pump can use a secondary heat source to create the heat you need, such as heat generated by electricity. This makes a heat pump great for parts of the country that do not see temperatures below freezing that often.

Contact a local HVAC contractor to learn more about this type of heating system.