Heat Pumps: How Do They Work?

Those who have been keeping up with HVAC technology trends would have some level of familiarity with heat pumps. If you’re not familiar with its inner workings, no problem: the HVAC experts at McLay share an overview of how heat pumps work.

Cooling Cycle

To give you an idea of how heat pumps work, let us first share how a typical air conditioning system works. The cooling cycle begins at the evaporator unit, where liquid refrigerant is pumped through the indoor coil, which cools it. Blowers in the evaporator unit pump warm air from the room through the coils. Since heat naturally moves to cooler surfaces, heat from the room is taken (or “pumped”) away as the refrigerant in the coils absorb it.

The refrigerant then undergoes stages of compression, becoming hotter as it turns into gas. The condenser unit releases heat and pressure, which rapidly turns the refrigerant back into its liquid state. Heat from the condensing refrigerant is released through condenser coils. The now-cold refrigerant is pumped through an expansion valve and into the evaporator unit, to be used for cooling.

How Heat Pumps Work

Heat pumps are essentially reverse air conditioners. This is why certain air conditioners can be turned into heating systems with the flick of a switch. Heat pumps draw heat from outdoor areas, combine it with the heat generated during condensation, and are released indoors. Heat pumps are space-efficient HVAC systems as they only occupy one space, as opposed to having a furnace in addition to an air conditioner. AC repair won’t be as complicated: you will only need one technician for your heating and cooling needs.

Other Kinds of Heat Pumps

In addition to the just-described air-to-air heat pumps, you may also come across other options: geothermal and water source heat pumps. Geothermal heat pumps utilize coils embedded in the earth to absorb heat from the ground, while water source heat pumps do so using coils submerged in a nearby natural body of water. These coils replace or supplement the heat from the air that’s absorbed by the refrigerant in its cooled state.

Call McLay for Your Heating and Cooling Needs

For more information about heat pumps, or if you’re looking for a surge protector for AC unit, call McLay at (909) 392-2202 or fill out our contact form. We serve customers in La Verne, CA, and nearby areas.