How Does a Heat Pump Work?

A heat pump is one of the most versatile and energy efficient HVAC appliances available. It’s similar to an air conditioner, but it has a reversing valve that switches the flow of heat. In the summer, both heat pumps and air conditioners absorb heat from the indoor air using refrigerant and deposit it outside where it dissipates.

The reversing valve makes it possible for heat pumps to extract the heat from the outdoor air in the winter. It then sends it indoors to the evaporator coil inside the blower compartment. As the blower motor sends air over this coil, the air warms and flows through the ductwork.

Distribution of Heat Pumps

Until recently, heat pumps were used primarily in southern states where temperatures seldom fall below freezing. However, technological advances have made them more efficient at gathering sufficient heat even at temperatures below 32 degrees F. Also; most heat pumps have auxiliary electric heating coils that kick in when temperatures fall below the pump’s ability to provide adequate heat.

Using Heat Pumps in Cold Winter Climates

Engineers have designed hybrid heating systems that combine heat pumps with combustion furnaces so that homeowners can use a heat pump during milder weather and switch to gas heating in colder weather. These hybrids allow people to use heat pumps for months longer during the heating season, helping them consume less nonrenewable fossil fuel.

If you’d like more information about a heat pump, contact Efficient Heating and Air Conditioning. We provide trusted HVAC services for homeowners in Spearfish, SD and the northern Black Hills regions.