Because of its simply designed function – pumping heat one way or the other – your Duvall home’s heat pump have relatively few components. However, these components do not work the way you might expect, if you are picturing, for example, a fan that blows heat in or out.
A heat pump operates on the same principle as an air conditioner or refrigerator, which may seem complicated at first, but it’s not. The heat pump consists of five main functional components, which are outlined below:
- The coils absorb heat from the surrounding air and channel it in or out of the home. There are two different types of coils in a heat pump. Condenser coils are outside the home transferring heat to and from the outside air. Evaporator coils are the reverse, transferring heat to and from the air inside the home.
- The coils are filled with a refrigerant, which is the medium that carries heat into or out of the home. On a cold day, for example, when the heat pump is in heating mode, the refrigerant in the condenser coils will absorb heat from the outside air, the flow inward into the evaporator coils, warming the interior of the house.
- The compressor pressurizes the refrigerant so that it is able to readily absorb as much heat from the air as possible. This is how your heat pump is able to gather warm air from the chilly outdoors to keep your home warm.
- The reversing valve is the component that changes the flow of the refrigerant when switching from heating mode to cooling mode, or vice versa.
- Finally, the air handler is the fan component that distributed the heat throughout the house via your home’s ductwork.
While these are the five main components, there are several smaller parts involved within and alongside each of these, as well. You need not concern yourself with them, since you won’t have occasion to interact with them. A professional will be able to identify and repair any of the components of a heat pump as needed.
In addition to these five primary components, most heat pumps also include a heater pack, which is a bunch of actual heating elements for use when the heat pump cannot operate on its own. For example, you would turn on the “Emergency Heat” setting of your heat pump after a power outage to warm the refrigerant before use. That setting is supported by the heater pack.