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What is a Heat Pump?

what is heat pump

The heat pumps provide an alternative solution to furnaces and air conditioners for climates with moderate heating and cooling needs. If you think about how is it possible, then first, you need to know what is a heat pump? It is an electrical device that extracts warmth from one place and transfers it to another. 

Heat Pump uses the outside air to both warm and cool a home. During warmer seasons, it collects cool from the outside air and transfers it inside your house. In a colder climate, the process reverses, it extracts the heat from outdoor air and pulls inside the home. 

1. Heat Pump Working Procedure:

Heat Pump System has four components: Evaporator, Compressor, Condenser, and Expansion device. By using these components, it will work.

Heat Pumps transfer heat through a cycle of evaporation and condensation by circulating a substance called a refrigerant. The refrigerant is pumped between two heat exchanger coils by a compressor. In one coil, the refrigerant is evaporated at low pressure and absorbs warmth from its surrounding environment. 

After that, the substance is compressed on the way to the other coil, where it condenses at high pressure. At this point in the process, it releases the heat that it absorbed earlier.

Since this system transfers the heat rather than produce, they can provide comparable space conditioning at the little cost of running conventional heating or cooling appliances.

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2. Parts of Heat Pump:

A typical heat pump system majorly consists of two components: an outdoor and an indoor air handler units. Both components have different sub-components.

a) Outdoor Unit:

It contains a fan and coil. The coil operates as either an evaporator or a condenser. The coil acts as a condenser in cooling mode and as an evaporator in heating mode. The fan blows outside air over the coil to promote the exchange of warm.

b) Indoor Unit:

Same as the outdoor unit, the indoor unit contains both a coil and a fan. It is commonly referred to as the air handler unit. The coil acts as a condenser in heating mode and evaporator in the cooling mode. The fan moves air across the coil and throughout the ducts in the home. 

c) Compressor:

The compressor helps to pressurize the refrigerant and moves it throughout the system.

d) Refrigerant:

This is a substance in the refrigeration lines that absorbs and rejects heat as it circulated throughout the process. 

e) Expansion Valve:

The expansion valve regulates the flow of refrigerant as it passes through the system and allowing for temperature & pressure reduction of the refrigerant

f) Reversing Valve:

Reversing valve reverses the flow of refrigerant. It allows the unit to operate in reverse direction and switch between cooling and heating. 

The system also consists of parts like control board, accumulator, ducts, heat strips, thermostat, etc. along with the above parts. 

3. Heat Pump VS Air Conditioner? What’s the Difference?

A heat pump may be the right HVAC system for you when it comes to cool and warm up your house especially when you are in a moderate climate. Air conditioners are perfect when it is paired with a furnace to handle heating in the winter season. 

Coming to the difference between these two systems, air conditioners do not provide heat without the pairing of a furnace, but a heat pump can do it. Even in the extremely cold temperatures, a heat pump can absorb the heat energy from outdoor air and transfer that into the house. 

Heat pumps can make warm and cold a home but the air conditioner cannot, which is the primary difference between these two items. Two HVAC units follow the same process to cool your house with no real difference in energy costs, efficiency, and comfort.

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4. Heat Pump vs Gas Furnace? What’s the Difference?

A furnace burns fuel to create heat so that there will be a chance for environmental impacts. By using electricity, a heat pump moves heat from one place to another and doesn’t emit hazardous emissions proven to lead to climate change.

When outside temperatures drop below zero, a heat pump's efficiency is impaired because the system needs more energy to maintain warm temperatures within the house. So, the addition of a furnace is the solution when outdoor temperatures drop. Then, two systems share the heating load but never work at the same time. 

However, the gas furnace will take over until the temperature increases enough for the heat pump to operate more efficiently.

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5.Heat Pump Air Conditioning:

Both heat pump and air conditioner do the same job to cool your home by using a compressed refrigerant to absorb warm from inside your home while the air in the air handler moves over the coil and pushes it outside. 

Essentially, the heating pump air conditioner transfers heat from inside your house to an outdoor place. Air conditioners are often assumed to chill a home by generating cold air, but the fact is that they cool your house by extracting heat energy from your home and moving it away to a place outside of the house.

There are three types of heat pumps available. They are water source, air-to-air source, and geothermal units. These will collect the heat from water, air, and ground outdoor and intends to use it inside. The most common type is air-source which exchanges the heat between outside air and your home.


To learn more about Heat Pump Air Conditioner, bookmark our PartsAPS website. PartsAPS is one of the global leading HVAC Parts suppliers. If you want to replace your existing heat pump, you can purchase it from us. Prefer our online store to buy more HVAC Parts. 

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