How Does a Heat Pump Both Cool and Heat?

By in , , ,
How Does a Heat Pump Both Cool and Heat?

Even though air source heat pumps are used to heat AND cool millions of homes around the country, including here in Waterford, MI, there is still some confusion about how they are able to do both. Before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s make sure we understand some basic definitions.

Heat transfer

Heat pumps don’t use electricity to heat or cool the air. Instead, the electricity is used to power a compressor that TRANSFERS heat from one location to another. This makes heat pumps the most efficient form of electric heat.

Heat pumps = air conditioner

During the cooling season a heat pump functions exactly the same way an air conditioner does. It uses refrigerant and a compressor to remove heat from inside your Waterford, MI home and transfers it outside. This is why a heat pump can function as an A/C replacement. By the way, heat pump technology is exactly the same process your refrigerator uses to remove heat and keep your food cold or frozen.

So, what changes during the heating season?

At the most basic level, a heat pump is an air conditioner that can change the direction it moves heat. When the reversing valve is activated the flow of refrigerant reverses. Now the heat pump removes heat from the outside air and transfers it into your home keeping it warm and comfortable.

Wait, this is Michigan

You’re right, it gets cold here, but scientists will be quick to tell you that even when it’s 15-degrees outside, the air still contains heat. The heat pump is able to squeeze heat from the seemingly cold air and transfer it into your home. At some point in time you may have heard horror stories about heat pumps in cold climates, but the technology has changed rapidly in the last 10-20 years allowing them to keep homes comfortable even in cold climates.

When is a heat pump the right choice?

First of all, a heat pump can always be used as an A/C replacement. If you have natural gas service in your home, then a furnace often makes more sense for heating. If you don’t have gas service and don’t want the hassle of a propane tank, then a heat pump is a great choice to heat your Waterford, MI home. Also remember, there are some risks; fire, explosion, & CO poisoning associated with gas and propane furnaces. Electric heat pumps are always a safe choice. To learn more about heat pumps to heat AND cool your home, call Kotz Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.