Technically, a heat pump is a mechanical-compression cycle refrigeration system that can be reversed to either heat or cool a controlled space. Installation for this type of system typically consists of two parts: an indoor unit called an air handler and an outdoor unit similar to a central air conditioner, but referred to as a heat pump. A compressor circulates refrigerant that absorbs and releases heat as it travels between the indoor and outdoor units.
A heat pump is an air conditioner that contains a valve that lets it switch between “air conditioner” and “heater.” When the valve is switched one way, the heat pump acts like an air conditioner, and when it is switched the other way it reverses the flow of the liquid inside the heat pump and acts like a heater.
Heat pumps can be extremely efficient in their use of energy. But one problem with most heat pumps is that the coils in the outside air collect ice. The heat pump has to melt this ice periodically, so it switches itself back to air conditioner mode to heat up the coils. To avoid pumping cold air into the house in air conditioner mode, the heat pump also lights up electric strip heaters to heat the cold air that the air conditioner is pumping out. Once the ice is melted, the heat pump switches back to heating mode and turns off the burners.
Like any heating or cooling system, proper heat pump maintenance is the key to efficient operation. When you choose us as your HVAC Service Company, we have a “Nate Certified” Comfort Specialist who will perform a preventive maintenance inspection on your heat pump system to ensure a seamless operation.