Step-by-Step Guide of How Your Heat Pump Works

Adaptable to virtually every application, heat pumps are becoming increasingly popular in homes and businesses throughout the Wilmington, North Carolina area. For many of our customers, it’s the opportunity to save money on energy bills that make them so attractive. People also love the way heat pumps keep them comfortable in all types of weather. This step-by-step guide to heat pump technology explains how a heat pump works and why a heat pump installation is a great option for climate control.

The Refrigeration Cycle

When it comes to cooling, heat pumps and refrigerators operate in much the same way. Heat is extracted from the air inside and moved outside of the space. The three-step process works by converting liquid refrigerant into a gas, and then back into a liquid. Scientists call this phase conversion, or in layman’s terms, the refrigeration cycle. Heat pumps have three main components: the evaporator, compressor and condenser. Each plays a critical role in the way heat pumps move heat from one location to another.

  • STEP ONE: Located in the outdoor unit, the compressor intakes cool refrigerant gas and uses pressure to heat it. The compressor then pumps the hot, high-pressure gas into the condenser.
  • STEP TWO: The condenser uses a fan to cool the gas into a liquid as it squeezes through coiled metal loops. The released heat escapes into the outside air through metal fins on the condenser’s exterior.
  • STEP THREE: The cooled liquid enters the indoor evaporator through a narrow valve, slowing the flow of refrigerant. It then evaporates into a gas as it moves through the unit’s cooling coils, removing heat from the surrounding air.

A blower connected to the evaporator directs the cooled air into the heat pump’s air distribution system. The cycle of refrigeration repeats until your home or business reaches the temperature setting on your thermostat.

Types of Heat Pumps

Heat pumps equipped with reverse operation can provide heating as well as cooling. Some models can even augment your domestic hot water supply. The way that heat pumps work during cold weather depends on the type of heat pump installation you choose.

  • Air-to-air heat pumps extract heat from the outdoor air and condense it until it’s hot enough to keep everyone comfortably warm.
  • Geothermal models take advantage of the thermal energy stored beneath the earth’s surface to heat your home or business.
  • In contrast to central-air systems, ductless heat pumps deliver warm air directly into livings spaces through individual air handlers.

If you already have a central-air furnace, a cooling-only heat pump offers an energy-efficient way to stay cool all summer. Whatever your indoor comfort needs, the professionals at Airmax Heating & Cooling can help you select the ideal heat pump system.

Comprehensive Heat Pump Service

Proper installation is essential for long-lasting enjoyment from a new heat pump system. It’s important to size the equipment to match your unique comfort needs. An oversized system will waste energy and your money with frequent on/off cycles. Undersized heat pumps can’t maintain the desired level of comfort. At Airmax Heating & Cooling, we conduct load calculations to ensure you stay comfortable without spending too much on energy expenses.

Our HVAC experts can also provide regularly scheduled tune-ups to maximize efficiency and performance. Neglected heat pumps use up to 25 percent more energy than well-maintained systems. Our maintenance plans make it easy to keep your heat pump in great condition and save money on heating and cooling. We also offer the professional heat pump repairs you need if your system ever falters.

How do heat pumps work? The short answer is wonderfully well! For more information about the benefits of these energy-efficient systems, explore our heat pump service section. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call Airmax Heating & Cooling today at 910-795-4359.

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