Heat pumps are excellent installations for homes that are looking to have both their heating and cooling needs taken care of. A heat pump provides cooling at the same level as a standard air conditioner of the same size, and its heating ability is well-matched to the mild cold temperatures that Los Angeles, CA experiences.
Heat pumps are similar to air conditioners in most ways: they contain the same sets of components operating in the same fashion. The difference is that a heat pump can switch the direction in which it moves heat—which requires a few components that you won’t find in a standard AC. Below we’ll look at these crucial different parts that set a heat pump apart from an air conditioner.
The reversing valve
This is the key part of a heat pump that allows it to work as both a heating and cooling system. The reversing valve is the component that shifts the direction that refrigerant moves through the system and thus allows a heat pump to change between heating and cooling mode. The reversing valve is attached to the refrigerant line where it exits the compressor. Depending on how the reversing valve is set, the exiting high-pressure hot refrigerant will either move first to the outdoor coil (cooling mode) or the indoor coil (heating mode).
The suction line accumulator
During heating mode, a heat pump uses less refrigerant to run. Where is the extra refrigerant stored during this time? In a component called the suction line accumulator, which is located between the compressor and the reversing valve.
The crankcase heater
It is vital for both heat pumps and air conditioners to keep liquid refrigerant out of the compressor. Only refrigerant in gaseous state should enter the compressor. Because a heat pump moves refrigerant in two different directions, it is very possible for liquid refrigerant to seep backwards into the compressor. To deal with this, a crank case heater attached to the compressor heats up and evaporates any liquid refrigerant that accidentally enters.
Malfunctions in any of these components can lead to a heat pump that won’t switch modes or possibly fail entirely. Only call on professionals for repair work: JW Heating & Air is here to help you in the Greater Los Angeles area and throughout the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valley areas.