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Professional Heating & Air Blog

How Does a Heat Pump Heat?

With the name “heat pump” the confusing thing can be how these devices offer cooling and not just heating. Plus, they don’t pump heat at all – they transfer it. So how do heat pumps offer your home both heating and cooling? It’s pretty simple and depends on a couple of key items, but first, it’s important to know how a heat pump works.

Moving Heat Around

As mentioned above, heat pumps work by transferring heat from one location to another; refrigerant helps facilitate this transfer process. During the summer months, a heat pump absorbs the heat in your home and transfers it outside; in the winter months, the heat pump absorbs the heat in the surrounding air, concentrates it, then distributes it to your living spaces. Heat pumps don’t generate heating or cooling, which is where they can be a little confusing to some. So why can heat pumps do this and air conditioners can’t? A component called a reversing valve.

The Reversing Valve

The reversing valve is a component that changes the direction in which the refrigerant in the system is flowing. When the refrigerant can change direction, the device can change between heating and cooling. The initiation of the mode change starts with pressing a button on your dual-mode thermostat. An electronic component attached to the reversing valve known as a solenoid begins the process of moving the sliding mechanism in the solenoid to the opposite side; once the slide starts moving, refrigerant flows into the valve, finishing the rest of the push to the other position. The positioning of heating or cooling within the valve is up to the manufacturer, so valves will differ. The important thing is that the valve slides from one position to another, otherwise it can get stuck.

“Stuck” Valves

One of the more common problems that can develop with a reversing valve is that it becomes stuck; the valve can become stuck in a mode or stuck in-between a mode. If the solenoid is the reason for the immobility, it can be repaired, but if the valve is stuck due to something like a refrigerant leak, it will need to be replaced.

Your heating is too important to be handled by someone inexperienced, so if you are having an issue with your heat pump, call A–Professional Heating and Air Conditioning today and schedule service for your heat pump service in Hammond with one of our heating experts.

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