Do you have a heat pump to take care of your air conditioning needs for the summer? There is one essential component that allows your heat pump to switch over from the heating job it has done for the last few months and start sending cool air through the vents. It’s called the reversing valve. Although there are a few other components that make a heat pump different from a standard air conditioner, the reversing valve is a key one, and understanding what it does will help you understand how a heat pump works in general.
If you want to have a heat pump installed or wish to schedule spring maintenance for your current heat pump, call on the HVAC professionals in Cary, NC: Raleigh Heating & Air. We have more than 20 years helping Wake County and the surrounding areas stay comfortable no matter the time of year.
The reversing valve and your heat pump
At the basic level, a heat pump is an air conditioning system. (Actually, it’s more accurate to say that an air conditioning system is a type of heat pump, but people in general are more familiar with the workings of an AC.) As with an AC, a heat pump cycles refrigerant between a pair of indoor and outdoor coils. A compressor provides energy to the refrigerant to transform it into a high-pressure, hot gas. The refrigerant then releases its heat through one set of coils and travels to the other to absorb heat before returning to the compressor.
When refrigerant leaves the compressor of a standard AC, it moves to the outdoor coils first. Here is where the reversing valve for a heat pump makes the difference: the valve sits on the refrigerant line where it exits the compressor, and depending on how it is set, it will either direct the refrigerant to the outdoor coils—acting like an air conditioner—or to the indoor coils. If it goes to the indoor coils first, it will release heat to the inside of the house, acting as a heating system.
One of the more common repair needs that a heat pump may require is to replace a busted reversing valve. If your heat pump won’t change over to cooling mode this spring, you may need to have the Raleigh Heating & Air team replace the valve. Give us a call and we will have your heat pump restored in no time at all.