Sheldon's HVAC Heat Pumps

How Do Heat Pumps Work?

In the HVAC businesses furnaces and air conditioners get most of the publicity. But split-system air-source heat pumps are a versatile, workable and highly energy-efficient alternative to both, able to rise to the heating and cooling challenge through all four seasons in a wide range of climates.

Heat Pumps during the Winter

A split-system heat pump’s compressor is installed outdoors, and it is the heart of the heat pump system. Its job is to “pump up” the temperature and pressure of the cold vaporized refrigerant gas that passes through it, setting off a chain reaction of repeated heat absorption and release.

During the winter, the hot pressurized gas created inside the heat pump is routed through refrigerant lines into the home, where it passes through a set of winding copper metal pipes called evaporator coils. As an indoor fan blows air past the coils the refrigerant inside cools and loses heat to the surrounding atmosphere (inside the home). After this occurs, the rapidly-cooling refrigerant will change from a gaseous state into solid liquid form.

Next, the liquid refrigerant is routed outside where it passes through another set of copper evaporation coils. But this time the liquid passes through a pressure-reducing expansion valve first. As pressure drops the liquid refrigerant quickly evaporates back into a gas inside the coils, its temperature dropping dramatically as it does so. In fact it gets so cold it is able to absorb heat from the outdoor environment, even when temperatures outside are well below zero.

The partially heated but still cold gas then returns to the compressor for re-pressurization, causing the whole process to repeat—which it will continue to do as long as the heat pump is turned on. In this way, heat is captured from the air outside and transported inside to be put to good use.

Heat Pumps during the Summer

The process we’ve just described is reversed during the summertime. When air conditioning is required, the heat pump sends hot pressurized gas through the outdoor coils first, where an outdoor fan blows air across the coils to cool the refrigerant inside, causing heat to be released into the surrounding (outside) atmosphere. The high-pressure liquid refrigerant is then routed into the home, passing through an indoor expansion valve that reduces its pressure before it enters the indoor coils.

As the refrigerant evaporates to cold gas inside these coils, it rapidly absorbs heat from the air inside the home. The cold gas is then piped back out to the compressor for re-pressurization, which starts the cycle of heat transfer from indoors to outdoors all over again.

Sheldon’s Heating & Air Conditioning: California’s Heat Pump Experts

Because heat pumps exploit natural chemical reactions of a refrigerant, they don’t require as much energy input as furnaces or air conditioners to get the job done. This makes them an energy-saving and cost-saving option for homeowners and business owners everywhere—including right here in Riverside, where Sheldon’s Heating & Air Conditioning has been expertly handling heat pump installation, repair and replacement tasks for years. We know heat pumps here like the proverbial backs of our hands.

If you decide you’d like to purchase a heat pump for your home or place of business, here’s something you should know: Sheldon’s Heating & Air Conditioning offers the most advanced, reliable and professional heat pump installation services available across the Inland Empire and throughout the greater Riverside area.

Contact us today, and we’ll send our trained experts to your home to consult with you and help you select the perfect heat pump for your needs. They will give you an accurate and affordable estimate that includes all installation costs, and show you how to get the absolute money-saving most out of your wonderful new heating and cooling unit.

If the thought of getting a heat pump pumps you up, call Sheldon’s now and together let’s get the ball rolling—or should we say, get the heat pump pumping! 

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