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How Does The Refrigerant in a Heat Pump Warm the House?

It seems like a contradiction: refrigerant being used to warm a house rather than cool it. With heat pumps, however, it actually makes a lot of sense. Here in Salt Lake City, heating repair services must often handle heat pumps, since they’re a popular form of warming homes in the area. (They’re usually a part of a hybrid system, since additional heating power is needed on the coldest winter days.) But that doesn’t explain the central question: how does the refrigerant in a heat pump warm the house?

Refrigerant gas doesn’t actually create heat so much as facilitate a heating exchange with the nearby air. Heat gets produced as a byproduct of air conditioning systems. A heat pump merely takes advantage of that fact more readily than air conditioners do. During the heating cycle, refrigerant gas passes through a compressor valve which subjects it to a great deal of heat and pressure. It then moves into a compressor coil which shifts the gas into a liquid state. That process bleeds heat into the air surrounding the coils, as the gas lowers in temperature and the heat needs somewhere to go. The warm air can then be blown into your home with a fan.

With a simple air conditioning system, that process would take place outside, and the liquid refrigerant – still under pressure – would move into a second set of coils that would shift it back into a gas (pulling heat from the nearby air and facilitating the cooling process). Heat pumps allow both the indoor and the outdoor coils to serve both functions, meaning that you can heat the home as well as cooling it.

That process depends on specific levels of refrigerant, however, which are dictated by the precise kind of heat pump you have. When those levels drop, problems develop in the heat pump and you need to call in a service technician to address them. The Salt Lake City heating repair service technicians at Rentmeister Total Home Service can answer the question “how does the refrigerant in a heat pump warm the house?” then seal any leaks in the system and recharge your refrigerant to keep the heat pump functioning. Pick up the phone and give us a call to make an appointment today!

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