A heat pump system moves heat from one place to another within a pressurized chemical refrigerant. It can provide both heating and cooling this way.
How do heat pumps work in the summer?
Warm indoor air is passed over a liquid refrigerant, which absorbs the heat and evaporates into a low pressure gas.
The gas goes through a compressor, which raises its temperature and pressure.
The hot gas moves through an outdoor coil, releasing its heat to the relatively cooler air and condensing back to a liquid.
The liquid moves through an expansion valve to release pressure, which cools it down.
Then it gets piped back into the house to collect warm air.
How do heat pumps work in the winter?
The same process also works in reverse.
When the refrigerant has low enough pressure, it will be colder than the outdoor air and can absorb heat from the surrounding air.
As the refrigerant moves back into the house, adding pressure increases the temperature.
Then the heat is blown out by an air handler, either through ductwork as in a conventional system or directly from the unit, as in a mini-split system.
How does a heat pump save energy?
Heat pumps require less fuel and operate very efficiently, because they primarily move heat, rather than generating it.
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