How Does a Heat Pump Actually Work?

Heat pumps are gaining more and more popularity among homeowners looking for an energy efficient and environmentally friendly home heating system. That’s all well and good; heat pumps are certainly high quality heating systems.

However, many homeowners are completely unaware of how a heat pump actually works. The more you know about your heating system, the better prepared you’ll be to evaluate the benefits it provides. You’ll also be better able to recognize problems when they occur, and have them repaired. With that in mind, let’s examine how a heat pump actually operates.

Parts of a Heat Pump

A heat pump is comprised of two units, with one installed inside the house and the other installed outside. The two are connected by power and refrigerant lines, allowing them to operate as once system. Inside each unit is a coil, which is connected to the refrigerant line that they both share. Also connected to the refrigerant line is a 4-way valve called a “reversing valve,” which controls the flow of refrigerant through the system.

Heat Pump Operation

When the heat pump is turned on, one of the units begins evaporating refrigerant inside its coil. The refrigerant becomes a heat sink when it transitions into gas, absorbing thermal energy from the air around it. Then, the refrigerant gas is sent down the refrigerant line to the other unit. The other unit then uses its coil to condense the refrigerant back into a liquid. This releases the thermal energy into the air.

One of the biggest advantages of a heat pump is that it can alternate between being a heating and cooling system. This is accomplished by the reversing valve, which reverses the flow of refrigerant through the system depending on the mode the heat pump is in. This determines which unit is the evaporator, and which is the condenser.

Heat pumps are great home heating systems, but you should still consult with a professional before installing one in your home. If you’d like to know more about how a heat pump can benefit you, call Magic Touch. We provide heat pumps throughout Gilbert, AZ.