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Keeping Cool With an Air-Source Heat Pump: How It Works

July 18, 2013 | Blog

If you’re used to having both an air conditioner and a furnace, you may wonder how a single piece of equipment can both heat and cool a home. An air-source heat pump can do just that–keeping your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It accomplishes this by working on the same principle: heat transfer. And a crucial component in the system–a reversing valve–allows it to do this double-duty. Here’s a basic explanation:

How an air-source heat pump works

Like a split-system air conditioner, a heat pump has an air handler inside the home and a compressor outside the home. The system contains two sets of coils that deliver refrigerant from the outside unit to the inside unit and then back to the outside. In the winter, liquid refrigerant in the outside coils extract heat from the air. The compressor pressurizes the refrigerant, boosting its temperature. As it warms, the refrigerant becomes a gas and releases the heat inside your home. As it begins to cool, the refrigerant once again becomes a liquid, ready to extract more warmth from the outdoor air.

When the weather changes, and you need cool air, the system’s reversing value allows the heat pump to take warm air from inside your home and send it outside. The warm air is then replaced with cool air. .

System efficiency

The efficiency of the system depends a great deal on having the right amount of refrigerant and ensuring that there are no leaks. When your heat pump is installed, your technician will measure the refrigerant, while also making sure that airflow and duct layout and integrity are sufficient. During your annual tune-up, your technician will check for refrigerant leaks and make sure the level is correct.

Whether you’re getting a new heat pump or making sure your present system stays in tip-top shape, the professionals at Mathews CCAC Inc. can deliver the expertise you expect. Take advantage of our three decades of experience to keep your Corpus Christi-area home at the optimal temperature all year long.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Corpus Christi, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about air-source heat pumps and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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