How Does a Heat Pump Work?
In size and appearance, a heat pump looks like a central air conditioner. But unlike a central air conditioning system, which only cools a home, a heat pump provides both heating and cooling. Here’s another way to think of it. A heat pump is an air conditioner in the summer and a reverse air conditioner in the winter.
Most central heat pumps are split‐systems, which means they have an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. Some heat pumps are packaged systems, which means they usually have the compressor, condenser, evaporator coil, and fan located outdoors in a single cabinet.
During the summer, a heat pump extracts heat from your indoor air, transfers the heat through refrigerant, and releases it to the outside. Like an A/C system, a heat pump has three main components:
- A compressor
- A condenser
- An evaporator coil
The indoor unit, which contains the evaporator coil, removes undesired indoor warmth and humidity from the air. The outdoor unit, which contains the condenser and compressor, takes the heat that was captured indoors and releases it outside. The heat pump operates in a continuous cycle to keep your home comfortable. When the room reaches the temperature set on the thermostat, the heat pump turns off. As the room warms up, the thermostat turns the heat pump back on.
In the winter, the heat pump takes that hot air and, instead of venting it to the outside, pushes it back into your home. Quite simply:
- When an air‐source heat pump is heating your home, the cooling cycle is reversed. Whereas an air conditioner works just in the summer, the outside unit of a heat pump system works allyear.
- In the outdoor unit, the heat pump evaporates a low‐temperature refrigerant. As the liquid evaporates, it absorbs heat from the outside air (even winter air contains heat!).
- After the gas is compressed in the outdoor unit, it passes into the indoor coil and condenses, releasing heat to the inside of the house.
- In addition, since the outside unit is providing the hot air, a heat pump system does not include a furnace. Instead, it utilizes an air handler to circulate the warm air throughout your home.
At Jarboe’s we can recommend a heat pump to fit your budget and your home.
Heat Pumps We Offer