Cooling With an Air-Source Heat Pump: How It Works

Cooling With an Air Source Heat Pump: How It WorksAn air-source heat pump doesn’t make coolness; it moves heat. Coolness is what remains when the heat energy is moved out. In summer, that’s the interior of your home. Heat pump technology takes heat extracted inside the house and conveys it to a condensing unit outside where it’s dispersed into the air. During winter, this process reverses, and the heat pump absorbs latent heat out of winter air and moves it indoors. An air source heat pump consists of five main components:

Indoor coil. Incorporated in the air handler inside the house, in cooling mode the indoor coil circulates low-pressure, frigid refrigerant that absorbs heat as household air is pulled across the coil by the blower fan. After the heat energy has been extracted, cool, conditioned air is circulated throughout your home by the ductwork.

Compressor. The 50-degree flow of refrigerant carrying thermal energy from indoors is conveyed outdoors to the compressor that concentrates the molecules of heat and converts the refrigerant into a high-pressure gas with a temperature of about 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

Outdoor coil.  When the hot refrigerant enters the outdoor coil, it quickly sheds its load of thermal energy into the air, aided by airflow over the coil provided by a fan. As the refrigerant loses its heat, it condenses into a liquid.

Expansion valve. As the liquid refrigerant returns to the indoor coil under pressure, it is forced through a tiny orifice in the expansion valve as it enters the evaporator. This rapid expansion process causes the refrigerant to convert from a liquid back to a frigid vapor, ready to absorb more heat from your home.

Reversing valve. Located between the outdoor and indoor coils, when this valve is actuated the flow of refrigerant reverses for heating mode, taking heat from outdoor air and moving it indoors to warm the house.

In Terre Haute and the Wabash Valley since 1922, Paitson Bros. Heating & Air Conditioning provides all-season comfort and indoor air quality. Ask us about more of the performance and efficiency benefits of installing air source heat pump technology.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Terre Haute, Indiana about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about air source heat pumps and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock


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    Jeff Paitson Jeff Paitson is a third generation business owner who continues to run the business with the same values that have been passed down from previous generations since 1922.

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