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A heat pump HVAC system is a versatile appliance that may be used to cool as well as heat a home. It doesn’t generate heat as a furnace does. Instead, it transfers heat from one location to another. This can be used to remove heat from your living space or warm it up.

When you need relief from hot weather, a heat pump works exactly like an air conditioner. But when it’s chilly outside, a reversing valve changes the coolant’s flow. That transforms the heat pump into an efficient means to heat your Florida home.

But how does a heat pump work? Let’s dive deeper into how a heat pump HVAC system works when it’s cooling and heating.

how does a heat pump work?

The Importance of Refrigerant

Just like an air conditioner, a heat pump runs on electricity and a coolant. This refrigerant is the key component that all other parts manipulate. If your unit lacked coolant, it would be incapable of functioning.

By lowering its pressure, the unit chills the refrigerant. However, as it passes through the evaporator coils, it absorbs heat. This causes the pressure to increase again. Once the refrigerant travels through the condenser coils, its pressure is lowered by force.

The refrigerant keeps traveling in this cycle of pressure and temperature changes as it travels between the evaporation components and the condenser components. 

When a heat pump is used to heat a home, the components switch jobs to reverse the process and provide warmth to your indoor spaces.

Principles of Thermodynamics

When the refrigerant is pressurized to become a low temperature (cold) gas, it is directed through the evaporator coils. In the case of an air source heat pump, a fan will blow air across these tubes.

Now, common sense would say that the cold pipes chill the air as it passes through, but that’s not what happens. Instead, the heat from the warm air transfers to the coils and that makes the air cooler. That’s because heat will always move to the cooler object. This is the second law of thermodynamics.

With its heat removed, the colder air continues to travel into your home to provide you with a comfortable environment during hot weather months.

Then, the thermodynamic law strikes again. When the hot refrigerant passes through the condenser coils, another fan blows across these tubes. That air is cooler than these coils, so the heat transfers to the air. 

During cooler days when you turn up your thermostat and the heat kicks in, the hot air coming off the condenser coils raises the temperature in your home.

But what happens to the heat? 

Heat absorption causes the refrigerant to become a really hot gas. The machinery directs this gas to a different part of the equipment called the condenser coils. These coils become so hot with the gas inside of them that they need a little help. 

A fan blows across these coils and sends the heat outside, away from your indoor spaces. This reduces the pressure, allowing the refrigerant to return to a liquid state. Once the liquid is reasonably cooler, it is forcefully pressurized into a low-pressure gas and it flows through the evaporator coils again.

But a heat pump is special. So how does a heat pump work?

A heat pump can do all the work that an air conditioning unit can do, and in addition, replace other heating systems (like your furnace). When you crank your thermostat up in the winter, a heat pump HVAC system can reverse, collecting heat from outside, sending the gathered warmth indoors, and expelling the cold air outdoors.

It does this by literally reversing the flow of the refrigerant. The indoor and outdoor unit switch functions and the evaporator coils begin taking heat from outdoor sources to move inside your house. 

What Sources Do Heat Pumps Use?

When a heat pump HVAC system is installed in your home, it will expel and gather heat to and from a single source. Depending on the design of the heat pump HVAC system you choose, it could be:

  • Air-sourced
  • Ground-sourced
  • Water-sourced

Your Action Air Conditioning heating and cooling expert can help you to determine which source is best for your property and individual needs. 

Air-sourced is the most common type of heat pump in Florida, but some customers may want their heat to come from their well water or underground. These are referred to as Geothermal Sources They are known to be among the most dependable and durable heat pump HVAC systems on the market today.

Do You Need a Heat Pump HVAC System Installed?

If you are thinking of switching from a furnace to a heat pump system, contact Action Air Conditioning for more information.

For over 30 years, Action Air Conditioning has served Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas Counties! You can count on us to provide you with superior service and a huge selection of cooling solutions.

We make sure that clean, cool air is circulated throughout your home or office at the right temperature and humidity level. Our knowledgeable specialists will help you install a new heat pump, such as a mini ductless system, or maintain or repair an existing one.

Use our contact form or give us a call to get in touch with us!