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How Does a Heat Pump Provide Both Heating and Cooling?


Heat pumps are popular choices for indoor comfort because they do two jobs: heating and cooling. Instead of relying on an air conditioner and a separate heater like a furnace to provide for your year-round comfort, you can have a heat pump installed and take care of the temperature for all seasons.

We’ll explain how a heat pump pulls off this remarkable feat… and does so while using a much smaller amount of energy than a furnace or boiler. If you want to schedule installation for a heat pump in Raleigh, NC, or you need repairs or maintenance for the one you already have, contact Raleigh Heating & Air and our NATE-certified heating technicians today.

Heat Pump Basics

A heat pump is almost the same as a standard air conditioner, so we’ll first explain how an AC works and then show how a heat pump changes it.

Air conditioners do not create cool air: they absorb heat from one area (the inside of a building) and release it to another (the outside), which provides the feeling of cooler air. To move heat, the AC uses a chemical blend called refrigerant that travels in a closed loop between two coils, changing from a gas to a liquid and back again as its temperature rises and falls. The indoor coil act as evaporators that absorb heat, and the outdoor coil act as condensers, releasing heat.

The difference with a heat pump comes from a component called a reversing valve that sits on the refrigerant line. The valve, as its name implies, reverses the direction the refrigerant moves. When this happens, the indoor and outdoor coils swap functions. Now, the heat pump absorbs heat from outdoors, and releases it indoors.

It may sound odd that a heat pump can remove heat from outside when the temperature is low, but unless there is no molecular motion in the air, there is always some heat available for the evaporator coil to extract. This is the only caution about heat pumps: in extreme low temperatures, they can start to lose their heating efficiency.

Raleigh Heating & Air offers excellent installation, maintenance, and repair for your heat pump in Raleigh, NC. Call us today for heat pump service or any other need you have for heating or cooling your home.

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