How Does a Heat Pump Work?
Although a heat pump may look very much the same as a central air conditioner in size and appearance, a heat pump provides both heating and cooling, whereas a central air condition only provides cool air. Here’s another way to think of it. A heat pump is an air conditioner in the summer and a reverse air conditioner in the winter.
Central heat pumps are typically part of a split‐system, which means they have an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. Some heat pumps are packaged systems, which means they usually have the compressor, condenser, evaporator coil, and fan located outdoors in a single cabinet.
During the summer, a heat pump cools your indoor air by moving the heat extracted from the air through refrigerant, and releasing it to the outside. Like an A/C system, a heat pump has three main components:
- A compressor
- A condenser
- An evaporator coil
The indoor unit, which contains the evaporator coil, extracts the excess heat and humidity from the air. The outdoor unit, which contains the condenser and compressor, releases that captured heat to the outdoors.The heat pump operates in a continuous cycle to keep your home comfortable. When the room reaches the temperature set on the thermostat, the heat pump turns off. As the room warms up, the thermostat turns the heat pump back on.
In the cold days of winter, the heat pump pushes warm air into your home instead of venting it to the outside. More technically speaking:
- When an air‐source heat pump is heating your home, the cooling cycle is reversed. Whereas an air conditioner works just in the summer, the outside unit of a heat pump system works all year.
- In the outdoor unit, the heat pump evaporates a low‐temperature refrigerant. As the liquid evaporates, it absorbs heat from the outside air (even winter air contains heat!).
- After the gas is compressed in the outdoor unit, it passes into the indoor coil and condenses, releasing heat to the inside of the house.
- In addition, since the outside unit is providing the hot air, a heat pump system does not include a furnace. Instead, it utilizes an air handler to circulate the warm air throughout your home.
At Williams Comfort Air, we can recommend a heat pump to fit your budget and your home.
Heat Pumps We Offer