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How Does a Heat Pump Both Heat and Cool?

A comfort system that is increasingly popular for homes in Paramus and the surrounding areas is the heat pump. The special appeal of a heat pump is that it takes care of indoor comfort all year. You only have to make one adjustment on the thermostat to change a heat pump from acting as an air conditioner to working as a forced-air heater… and a very energy-efficient forced air-heater at that.

How is a single system capable of working as an air conditioner and heater? We have details below.

The Workings of a Heat Pump

A heat pump is basically a standard air conditioner with a number of important modifications. Like a conventional AC, a heat pump has a set of indoor and outdoor cabinets, with a compressor in the outdoor cabinet that places chemical refrigerant under pressure. The refrigerant then circulates between two sets of coils in the cabinets. The hot refrigerant exhausts heat to the outside by condensing in the first coil, and the cold refrigerant then absorbs heat from the inside by evaporating in the second coil.

Where a standard air conditioner can only run refrigerant one direction, a heat pump contains a component called the reversing valve that can reverse the direction the refrigerant travels as it exits the compressor. If the hot refrigerant moves first to the indoor coil, it releases heat into the home through condensation, and then when it goes to the outdoor coil, it absorbs heat. In short, a heat pump can make the two coils swap jobs. It’s an air conditioner that can run in reverse.

A heat pump has a few other components not found in an air conditioner that help it do its dual function. Since a heat pump uses less refrigerant in heating mode, the unneeded refrigerant is stored in a component called the suction line accumulator. There are also special precautions to make sure there’s no back flow of refrigerant into the compressor.

Are you interested in installation of a heat pump in Cliffside Park, NJ? Contact Advanced Mechanical Services today.

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