Heat Pump Operation -- A Beginner's Guide

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Heat pumps offer excellent climate control and energy savings, delivering even heating and cooling with up to 300 percent efficiency. If you are undertaking new construction or retrofit, you should definitely consider installing heat pumps.

Heat-pump operation

With the capability for both heating and cooling efficiently, heat pumps are a practical choice for homeowners. Here are the primary components of a heat-pump system:

  • The compressor: This pumps refrigerant through the entire system (coils, heat exchangers, valves and compressor), extracting and releasing heat from one source to another source.
  • The expansion valve: This regulates the flow of refrigerant for optimal function. 
  • The reversing valve: This controls the direction of the refrigerant, which allows for heating and cooling. 
  • The heat exchangers: These play a dual role as evaporator and condenser, depending if the heat pump is in heating or cooling mode.
  • The refrigerant: This is the lifeblood of the system. In heating mode, the refrigerant extracts heat from the evaporator heat exchanger, which typically is outside your home, and then it flows to the condenser heat exchanger, which is inside. A fan then blows the heat into your ductwork, and it is circulated to your living space. In cooling mode, the same procedure occurs in the opposite direction. Refrigerant extracts heat from the evaporator heat exchanger (indoors), flows to the condenser heat exchanger (outdoors), and releases the heat to the outside environment (air or ground), leaving your home nice and cool.

Efficiency and comfort

Heat-pump operation is designed to deliver conditioned air slowly and smoothly over long periods of time. This results in even heating and cooling, optimal air filtration, and humidity control for sticky summer weather in the Mid-Ohio area. When heat pumps are installed with optional advanced features, they deliver even greater efficiency (up to 600 percent), system integrity, and home comfort. Scroll compressors can deliver temperature 15 degrees warmer for the same energy used. A variable-speed motor provides perfect circulation with even greater climate control.

For more information on the benefits of heat-pump systems, call Joe Behr Plumbing and Heating, Inc. We've proudly served residents of Mid-Ohio since 1965, and look forward to helping you with all of your heating and cooling needs.

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, visit our website.

Joe Behr Plumbing and Heating, Inc. services the Mid-Ohio area. 


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