If you have a heat pump installed in your house, you no doubt appreciate all of its benefits. Heat pumps provide effective seasonal heating and cooling, are energy efficient and are less expensive to run than furnaces or air conditioners. They do not require combustible fuel to produce heat, but instead use electricity during both heating and cooling operations.
Heat pumps get their name from the most notable characteristic of the way they work: instead of generating and distributing heat, they move heat from one place to another. Heat pump operation requires three key parts: a compressor, a set of indoor and outdoor heat exchanger coils and an electrical resistance heating element. The compressor is responsible for moving a refrigerant through the indoor and outdoor coils as it travels in and out of your house. The heating element provides a source of heat for times when temperatures fall much below freezing -- which is when a heat pump loses efficiency.
During heating functions, the liquid refrigerant in the outdoor coils extracts heat from the outdoor air. This causes the refrigerant to turn into a gas at low pressure. The compressor moves the gaseous refrigerant through the coil system and into coils inside your house. Once inside, the gas is under high pressure, which condenses it back into liquid and releases heat into your home.
In the summer, this process works in reverse. A reversing valve in the refrigerant line changes the direction of refrigerant flow. Indoor heat is captured by the refrigerant as it becomes gaseous and is released outdoors as the refrigerant becomes liquid again.
The electrical resistance heating element provides temporary backup heat when temperatures get too cold for the heat pump to function efficiently. These coils should not be used frequently.
For more than 35 years, Russell’s Heating & Cooling has served commercial and residential HVAC customers in the Hampton Roads area, including the Peninsula and Southside. Contact us today
for information on heat-pump operation, to get an estimate on a new heat pump or to schedule an expert installation.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about heat-pump operations and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Russell’s Heating & Cooling services the Chesapeake, Virginia and the surrounding areas. Visit our website to see our special offers and get started today!