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How is a Heat Pump Different from a Standard Air Conditioner?

Many homeowners throughout the country are choosing heat pumps as an alternative to a central air conditioning system, and a furnace. A heat pump functions as an air conditioner, in that it evaporates and condenses refrigerant to move heat from inside your home to the outside. However it can also switch the function of its two sets of coils in order to move heat into the home. This means that it functions as both and air conditioner and a heater, for optimum year-round comfort.

While a heat pump does work in the same fashion as an air conditioner—it has indoor and outdoor coils, a compressor, a thermostatic expansion valve, condensate drains, and fans—it has very specific components that help it function as a heater. Keep reading to learn more about the parts of a heat pump that makes it different from a standard air conditioning system.

Reversing Valve

This is the most essential part of a heat pump. It allows it to work as both a heater and an air conditioner by controlling which direction the hot refrigerant goes first when it exits the system compressor. If the valve is set in cooling mode, then the refrigerant will go to the outdoor coil first. If it’s in heating mod, then the refrigerant goes to the indoor coil first.

Suction Line Accumulator

In heating mode, a heat pump uses a lower charge of refrigerant to run. But where does the extra refrigerant go during this time? It’s held in place by the suction line accumulator—located between the compressor and the reversing valve.

Crankcase Heater

Heat pumps essentially alter the flow of refrigerant. Because of this, there’s a risk of cool liquid refrigerant flowing backwards into the compressor, which will seriously harm the entire system. A special crankcase heater warms the refrigerant before it can cause any damage to the compressor.

For expert heat pump installation in Roy, UT, be sure to give Rentmeister Total Home Service a call!

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