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How Can Heat Pumps Both Heat and Cool?

condenser-green-leavesIf you have expressed to family and/or friends that you are thinking about investing in a new air conditioner, then you may have heard some of them recommend a heat pump.

“It’s great,” they’ve said.

“You’ll save money,” they’ve claimed.

“You’ll be able to heat and cool your home,” they’ve boasted.

“Yeah, right,” you’ve murmured. If it sounds too good to be true, after all.

Well, we’re here to tell you that you should have more faith in your friends and family! They are absolutely right in their assessment of the heat pump system. This is one case where a deal that sounds too good to be true is, in fact, true! But how is this possible? Read on to learn more about how it is that a heat pump in Chesterfield, MO is capable of both heating and cooling your home.

The Key Is the Refrigerant Cycle…

…or, rather, its reversal. Both heat pumps and central air conditioning systems cool in the same way. Refrigerant is evaporated in the evaporator coil, which allows for heat to be drawn out of the air in the house. The refrigerant then travels to the outdoor unit, where it is condensed. As the condenser coil condenses the refrigerant, its heat is dispersed into the air outside. The process continues over and over until the desired temperatures are met in the house.

Reversing the Flow Allows for Efficient Heating

The key difference between a heat pump and your average central air conditioning system is that a heat pump has a component called a reversing valve. This valve allows for the reversal of the refrigerant flow, sending it in the opposite direction. The coils swap functions as well. In the heating mode, the outdoor coil acts as the evaporator coil, while the indoor coil functions as the condenser coil. Basically, refrigerant is now evaporated outdoors, drawing heat out of the air outside. There is always heat in the air, and our mild winters mean that there is typically plenty for making this method of heating both reliable and effective.

Before traveling indoors, the refrigerant is compressed in order to boost its thermal energy. Then, it goes to the indoor coil, now functioning as the condenser, where it is condensed in order to release its heat. Again, the process simply continues until, in this case, the house is warm enough.

Save Money On Heating without Sacrificing Comfort

The heat pump works just like a central AC in its cooling mode, with both systems removing heat from the air inside via the evaporation of refrigerant. The heating process differs greatly from something like a furnace, though. No fuel is consumed to generate new heat. In fact, no new heat is actually generated! You’re transferring heat from the air outside into the home (granted, after compressing the refrigerant to maximize output). This allows you to heat your home in an efficient and eco-friendly manner, even as you enjoy reliable cooling on hot summer days, all from the same system!

Schedule your AC and heat pump services with Fresh Air Heating & Cooling.

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