When describing how heat pumps work to people unfamiliar with them, it is easiest to compare them to air conditioners. The two systems operate in almost the same fashion, and they look identical on the outside to someone who doesn’t have professional HVAC knowledge. In essence, a heat pump is an air conditioning system that can switch the direction it moves heat. The outdoor and indoor coils can swap functions, so either coil can release or absorb heat depending on what the homeowner needs.
However, there are a few key internal differences in a heat pump that allows it to alter the direction of heat exchange. Below are three of these different components that set apart the dual-action of a heat pump from the single action of an air conditioner.
If you have a heat pump that needs service, or you are interested in heat pump installation, call the Colorado Springs, CO HVAC experts at Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning.
#1. The reversing valve
This is the essential piece that sets a heat pump apart from an air conditioner. The reversing valve is what permits the heat pump to move refrigerant in a different direction, so that it brings heat to the indoors instead of removing it to the outdoors. The reversing valve sits on the refrigerant line where it leaves the compressor, and depending on how it is set, it will either send the refrigerant to the outdoor coils or the indoor coils first.
#2. The suction line accumulator
When a heat pump operates in heating mode, it uses less refrigerant. The suction line accumulator, which is attached between the reversing valve and the compressor, stores the additional refrigerant when the heat pump switches over to heating and prevents it from re-entering the compressor.
#3. The crank-case heater
This heater sits atop the compressor and serves to protect the compressor from any cold refrigerant that could migrate back into it. The heater evaporators any liquid refrigerant still in the compressor and sends it back into the line so it will not cause damage to the compressor.
The staff at Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning is glad to help you out with any problems you may have with your heat pump. We offer repairs, maintenance, and new installations. We have more than 40 years of experience keeping homes comfortable no matter the season.