The heat pump is a great alternative to an air conditioner or a furnace. In fact, it has both heating and cooling capabilities, all rolled into one piece of equipment. But have you ever wondered how a heat pump actually works? If it provides both heating and cooling, what process does it utilize to do its job?
Read on as local heating and AC repair contractor Air Products & Services explains in greater detail how the heat pump functions during summer and winter.
The General Function of a Heat Pump
A heat pump utilizes a small amount of energy to move heat from one area to another. It doesn’t use fuel like a conventional furnace; rather, it uses electricity to pull heat out of a space to either warm or cool your home. In fact, the heat pump has the same compression-evaporation cycle as that of a typical AC system or a refrigerator. The source of the heat it is trying to move will depend on the mode selected. Here’s an overview of the heating and cooling modes of a heat pump:
- Cooling Mode
When you turn the heat pump to cooling mode in the summer, its motorized fan will start drawing warm air into the ducts. At the same time, the compressor starts to circulate refrigerant between the indoor and outdoor units of the heat pump to cool the warm air. Cooling begins as warm air from the indoor living spaces is pulled into the air handler. The refrigerant absorbs the heat from that warm air and transfers it outdoors. The resulting cool, dehumidified air is then distributed indoors. The entire process is repeated until you reach the desired indoor air temperature as indicated by your thermostat.
- Heating Mode
When you switch the heat pump to heating mode in the colder months, the same process occurs but in reverse. It first draws heat from the outdoor air, which then gets absorbed by the refrigerant. The refrigerant is then compressed to increase its temperature. The now-pressurized substance passes through the coils near a blower fan, which pushes the warm air indoors. As with cooling mode, this process is repeated until the ambient indoor temperature matches the reading on your thermostat.
Reasons to Invest in a Heat Pump
If you’re due for air conditioning replacement anytime soon, you might want to consider upgrading to a heat pump instead. Here are a few of the many benefits that make them a great alternative to AC.
- Single-unit convenience. As already mentioned, a heat pump provides both heating and cooling. Essentially, you don’t need a forced-air system that consists of both a furnace and an AC unit. With just a few adjustments of your thermostat, you can switch from heating to cooling mode and vice versa with ease.
- Less maintenance. A heat pump doesn’t require as much maintenance as a furnace or any heating system that requires combustion. Of course, it should still be inspected regularly by a heating and AC troubleshooting system expert to ensure its long-term efficiency and performance.
- Perfect for the California climate. The heat pump’s method of transferring heat is what makes it a perfect choice for California homeowners. Winter in this part of the United States is moderate, with plenty of heat from the outdoor air to be transferred indoors when you need warmth. In summer, the heat pump can easily do its function of getting rid of the warm indoor air and transferring it outdoors in exchange for cool air.
Tips for Heat Pump Use This Summer
If you already have a heat pump installed, you want it to work efficiently so it can provide adequate cooling this summer. Heating and air conditioning replacement contractors recommend following these tips to get the most out of your comfort equipment.
- Always keep it turned on. It may sound like a waste of electricity, but keeping your heat pump turned on allows you to get better mileage out of it. This is especially true if you leave the house for an extended period, such as when you’re on vacation. Eventually, the ambient indoor temperature will be as warm as the outdoors. Once you return and turn the heat pump on again, it will run longer to bring your interior back to the set temperature.
- Don’t mess with the thermostat settings. This is especially true if you have a programmable thermostat. With this device, you can automate the process of adjusting indoor temperatures based on your needs. This helps you save a significant percentage on your energy bill per degree your thermostat increases or decreases over a given timeframe. So if you have your desired temperature set for certain times of the day, it’s best not to make any other changes to them.
- Use your fan. Running ceiling fans together with your heat pump allows cool air to be distributed more evenly throughout your home. The fans create a wind chill effect, which means you feel cooler on a hot summer day. This gives you the opportunity to turn up the thermostat a few degrees, resulting in energy savings. You also protect the heat pump from unnecessary strain, which is a big plus for its long-term efficiency and performance.
For your heat pump needs, turn to Air Products & Services. Considering our status as a Carrier Factory Authorized Dealer, we are qualified to ensure the ongoing performance of your heat pump or any other HVAC system you use to bring comfort to your home or business. Count on our heating and AC troubleshooting system pros to perform any HVAC job, no matter how simple or challenging!
Call us today at (818) 989-2030 or fill out our contact form to request service or get an estimate. We serve homeowners and businesses in Tarzana, CA, and other nearby areas.