Ever wondered how heat pumps work? Grab your pencil and get ready to dive in. We’ve created an introductory course to gear up for the cold season. So without further ado, we present Heat Pumps 101.
What is a heat pump?
Simply put, heat pumps use electricity to absorb heat energy from the cold outside air and transfer it inside using refrigerant. Heat pumps don’t generate heat; they just transfer it.
A heat pump can be used to both heat and cool a home. The condenser and evaporating coil switch roles depending on the directional flow of the refrigerant. Reversing the refrigeration cycle turns your heat pump from an air conditioner to a heater and back again. Within either process, it extracts or supplies heat.
What are the components of a heat pump?
A heat pump has an outdoor unit with a coil and fan. The coil acts as a condenser or evaporator, depending on whether it’s running on cooling or heating mode. The compressor pressurizes the refrigerant and moves it through the coils. The fan blows outside air over the cold coil to absorb heat energy and facilitate the heat exchange.
The indoor unit is basically a mirror of the outdoor unit. The fan blows air over the coil and through the ductwork into the home.
What is refrigerant?
Refrigerant is a fluid that can easily boil from a liquid to a vapor and vice versa. Refrigerant is pushed through a thermal expansion valve within the heat pump that releases pressure and drops its temperature.
Where does a heat pump get its heat?
It may seem contradictory that a heat pump transfers heat from cold, outdoor air. But even subfreezing temperatures have heat energy. Low-pressure, cooled refrigerant in the outdoor coil absorbs heat and changes into a gas. The gas changes back into a liquid when the heat is released inside. It’s pushed through the thermal expansion valve again to cool it down and repeat the cycle.
What does Heating & Cooling Two offer?
Heating & Cooling Two offers Hybrid Heat® dual fuel systems that switch between an electric heat pump and furnace to efficiently warm your home. This system automatically switches between electricity and gas to use the most efficient method, so your utility bills won’t reflect unpredictable fuel cost increases.