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Learn How Your Heat Pump Works

When it comes to keeping your home comfortable year-round, a heat pump is just one of the many tools at your disposal. However, there's a good chance you might not understand exactly how your heat pump is able to heat and cool your home throughout the year. To find out, read on for an in-depth primer on how your heat pump works.

The Basics Behind the Heat Pump

An ordinary heat pump looks like any other type of central HVAC unit. Unlike a typical central HVAC system with a furnace and air conditioner, a heat pump takes a somewhat different approach towards keeping your home comfortable year-round.

One of the most unique aspects of a heat pump is that it utilizes the basics of refrigeration in order to heat and cool your home. The refrigerant inside the heat pump is not only capable of absorbing heat energy, but it can also transfer it from one place to another. Although most heat pumps gather heat energy from the surrounding air, certain types can pull heat energy from underground sources.

This means that not only can a heat pump be used to keep your home cool throughout the summer, but it can also use the same processes in reverse in order to meet your home's heating demands. The following offers a detailed explanation of how your heat pump operates under summertime and wintertime conditions.

Summertime Operation

During the summer, your heat pump operates just like a typical air conditioner. In cooling mode, the heat pump removes excess heat and humidity from the indoor air. The excess humidity is removed in the form of condensation that eventually drains outdoors. Meanwhile, the heat pump transfers the excess heat via refrigerant from the indoor spaces to the outdoors, where it's eventually released into the outdoor air.

As a result, your heat pump is able to keep your home cool and comfortable while keeping excess humidity at bay. Aside from keeping an eye on your heat pump's air filter, there are no additional steps needed to cool your home.

Wintertime Operation

During the winter, your heat pump takes advantage of its unique ability to reverse its refrigerant flow in order to bring warm air into your indoor spaces. This is accomplished thanks to the reversing valve, a unique piece of equipment that allows the heat pump to switch the direction of its refrigerant flow as needed.

As you set your heat pump to heating mode, the reversing valve automatically switches the direction of the refrigerant flow. This allows the heat pump to absorb latent heat from the outdoor air and transfer it indoors. The latent heat is then released into the indoor air. This is basically the complete opposite of how your heat pump normally works during the summer months.

Advantages Over Traditional HVAC Systems

It doesn't take much electricity to move refrigerant back and forth through the heat pump system. As a result, heat pumps often operate more efficiently than their traditional HVAC counterparts. Another advantage is that a typical heat pump doesn't generate the dry heat you might experience with a typical gas or electric furnace. This means you won't have to worry about using a humidifier to minimize the effects of dry winter air.

The only disadvantage to having a heat pump is that it may not offer the same level of heat that a typical gas or electric furnace offers. Fortunately, winters in Greenville and the surrounding area tend to be relatively mild, lessening the heating demand your home requires. Nevertheless, many heat pump systems come with auxiliary heat sources to cover any additional heating demands.

Contact us at B & K Services to learn more about heat pumps and how having one can benefit your home.