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How Does a Heat Pump Work?


We often recommend heat pumps to our customers looking for a new central air conditioning system—especially if they complain about a lack of heat for those rare colder days. It seems silly to have a separate whole-home heating system in our area. A heat pump allows you efficient whole-home heating and AC from a single system that uses the same components for both.

How a heat pump works in AC mode

Essentially, a heat pump is just a standard central air conditioner, with a few extra parts. It has an indoor unit and an outdoor unit, just like any other central AC system. It has a refrigerant line that connects those portions, and refrigerant moves in a circular pattern from the indoor unit to the outdoor unit and to the indoor unit—so on and so forth until a cycle is completed.

Refrigerant changes from liquid to gas mode when it goes through the indoor evaporator coil. As it does, it’s able to absorb heat from the air in your home. When it moves outside, it releases heat as refrigerant turns from gas to liquid form (without releasing any refrigerant). This heat removal process is essentially what cools your home.

How it works in heating mode

If you can move heat from the air inside of your home and disperse that heat outdoors, you can also move heat from the air outside to the space in your home. That’s how a heat pump works. An extra reversing valve changes the flow of refrigerant, allowing it to move in the opposite direction and absorb outdoor heat to move inside.

This works even when it’s very cold. In fact, today’s heat pumps work as temperatures approach freezing, meaning they’ll have no problem in our climate. And they use less energy than many other central systems! Ask your technician for more information.

Call Air On Demand for AC services in Palmetto Bay, FL and the surrounding areas.