Heat pumps as a term itself seems to be a misnomer, as these miraculous innovations have the ability to both heat and cool. What makes them even more mysterious is the fact that heat pumps don’t actually generate heat at all. So, how do these essential devices work? We’ll unravel the mystery here.
The Components of a Heat Pump and How They Function
Heat pumps typically have two primary components: an indoor air handler and an outdoor unit that resembles an outdoor split-AC unit. The internal sub-components of each part are what allows it to work its heating and cooling magic.
The Outdoor Unit—Internal parts include a fan and a coil. The coil serves a dual function depending on the ‘mode’ it’s set to operate in—cooling or heating mode. Essentially, the fan blows air from the outdoors across the coil to facilitate ‘heat’ exchange that gives users their desired heat levels.
The Indoor Unit—Often called an air handler, this component also contains a coil and fan like the outdoor unit. However, the coil in this case acts as an evaporator in cooling mode and in heating mode it serves as a condenser. The fan then moves this air throughout the structure’s existing duct system.
Think You Need Heating Repair? Terms You Need to Know About Heat Pumps
If you think something has gone amiss and that calling someone about cooling and heating repair may be necessary, know these terms first that can ease communications with repair pros.
- Refrigerant: A substance that absorbs/rejects heat that circulates through heat pump systems.
- Compressor: Pressurizes and moves refrigerant through the system
- Reversing Valve: Reverses refrigerant flow so the system can alternate between cooling and heating.
- Expansion Valve: Regulates and meters the temperature and flow of refrigerant passing through the system.
Heat pumps are remarkable devices that are energy efficient and easy to maintain and knowing that they work in such a simple way makes them even more appealing for home and business owners today.