How Heat-Pump System Components Work For Efficiency & Energy Savings

At Ortiz Heating & A/C, we understand that most homeowners have no idea how their heat-pump system works, or wonder if there are valid reasons to switch from traditional heating to a heat-pump system. San Mateo and Contra Costa homeowners will be interested to learn what makes heat pumps efficient, and why they help save energy.

Essentially, heat pumps move heat from one area to another, rather than burning fuel. Effective for both heating and cooling, heat pumps also work to move heat out of your home in summer months, so that indoor air is cooled.

There are five major components in heat pumps: the condenser, compressor, air handler, evaporator, and reversing valve. Below is a quick explanation of how these components work together:

There are two sets of copper coils to the heat-pump system, one set inside your home, and one set outside. The compressor essentially carries refrigerant through these coils.

The coils inside your home work as a condenser, pressurizing the refrigerant as it transforms from gas to liquid. During winter months when you are using your heat-pump system to generate heat, the outside copper coils act as an evaporator; essentially, the refrigerant transforms into a gas by vaporizing, and extracts or takes heat from the air outside. At this point, the compressor sends refrigerant to the inside condenser coils through an expansion valve. The refrigerant then transforms to liquid again due to high pressure, releasing the heat which has been absorbed into your home via the air handler.

The air handler is simply a high-power fan that moves the heated air throughout your home. This is done as the heated air goes from the heat pump to the ductwork, where it moves through and eventually into your home.

The reversing valve works when your heat-pump system is used to cool your home in summer months. Basically, the inside and outside coils work in reverse of the way they work when used in heating mode, and the direction of refrigerant flow is reversed. Heat is removed from inside your home through extraction of low-pressure refrigerant in the indoor coils, then released through outside coils.

This may sound a bit confusing and complicated, but it’s really simple. Considering there is no fuel required to operate a heat-pump system, you can see why its operation is more energy efficient. Additionally, much of the fuel used in other types of heating systems is wasted, as only a certain percentage of it actually burns.

As trusted San Mateo HVAC contractors, we’re the experts when it comes to heating and cooling your home. Questions about heat-pump systems? Give us a call, we’re glad to help.