How Does a Heat Pump Work?

Heat pumps are becoming an increasingly-popular choice for homeowners to heat and cool their homes. Keep reading to learn how a heat pump can help keep you comfortable all year long.

The key difference between heat pumps and other HVAC systems is that heat pumps do not actually generate heat. Instead, they transfer heat from one place to another to keep your home at your desired temperature. For this reason, heat pumps can also be used to cool your homes, though they generally work best in moderate climates.

So, how exactly do heat pumps work? There must be both a “heat source” and a “heat sink”. The heat source can be the air or the ground. Even air that feels cold still has heating energy present and can therefore be used as a heat source. The heat sink is the place where the heat gets directed to. During the winter months, the heat sink is your home.

A heat pump utilizes a compressor to constantly circulate refrigerant through cycles of evaporation and condensation. When the refrigerant reaches the evaporator coil, it turns into a gas and absorbs heat from its surroundings (the heat source). This refrigerant is then compressed and transferred to the condenser coil, where is turns back into a liquid and releases the heat into the heat sink (your home).

During the summer months, the process is reverse. Your home acts as the heat source, and the outside becomes the heat sink, allowing the unit to effectively function as an air conditioner. This all-in-one system is not only convenient for homeowners, it is very energy-efficient since no heat needs to be created from fuel.

Want to learn if a heat pump is the right choice for your Fairfax County home? Contact Air Treatment Company, Virginia’s #1 choice for home heating and cooling services, at (703) 270-0881.

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