Heat pumps deliver a nice continuous flow of conditioned air, providing heating and cooling efficiency that’s comfortable all year. With optimal heat-pump efficiency, heat pumps supply up to 300 percent heating and cooling energy that they consume. Understanding how heat pumps do this can help you keep your system running smoothly.
The primary parts of the heat pump, and their functions, are as follows:
- The compressor pumps refrigerant through coils in alternating circulation–heating and cooling.
- A dual-role condenser and evaporator make up the two heat exchangers. Heat is released into the atmosphere at the condenser and extracted from the atmosphere at the evaporator. In heating mode, the condenser is inside your home. In cooling mode, the evaporator is inside your home.
- Indoor and outdoor blowers pull air across the heat exchangers, activating heat transfer. The indoor blower will send the conditioned air into the duct system. The outdoor blower will expel the resulting air into the atmosphere.
- The reversing valve directs the flow of the refrigerant. One direction is for heating and the other direction for cooling.
- An expansion valve regulates the flow pressure of the refrigerant for optimal performance.
- The refrigerant is the component that absorbs and releases heat without using electricity. Refrigerant condenses and releases heat at the condenser. Then it circulates to the evaporator where it expands and absorbs heat.
Heat-pump maintenance for efficiency
Heat-pump efficiency relies on each component working smoothly. The valves must circulate the refrigerant efficiently. The blowers must be unobstructed to provide maximum air flow for activating heat exchange and conditioning your home. The refrigerant must be charged within an ounce or two of manufacturer’s recommendations for optimal heat transfer. A heat pump that is not well-maintained can easily lose 25 percent efficiency. Follow these DIY steps for heat-pump maintenance: