The idea of using a heat pump to cool your home might seem counter-intuitive, but that’s only because the name “heat pump” suggests heating rather than cooling. However, a heat pump can do both jobs effectively, by moving heat from one place to another. Here’s how it works.
In an air-to-air system, the outside end of the heat pump system is housed in a fan unit that looks similar to an air conditioner. On the interior is a bank of liquid refrigerant coils filled with a standard refrigerant. The fan in the unit pulls air into the unit over the coils. The refrigerant absorbs the heat from the air and expands into a vaporous state. The vapor is forced through a compressor unit which increases the pressure and temperature of the gas and pushes it into the home through a delivery tube. Once the liquid reaches the interior of the home it radiates heat into the blower unit which distributes it through the home. The refrigerant, now cooled, returns to the outside unit and starts the process all over again.
Because these units are equipped with a reversing switch, the refrigerant can be pumped in the opposite direction. This allows a home owner to take the heat from the home and release it into the outdoors.
Geothermal heat pumps are becoming much more common in our area. These systems, instead of circulating refrigerant above ground, circulate it below the surface where temperatures are consistent year round. There are both open- and closed-loop systems that can circulate refrigerant or water through existing wells or deep bedrock.
There are also absorption-type heat pumps that can be used in large homes. These units incorporate ammonia into the distribution system instead of using a compressor unit. This allows them to use less energy. They can be powered by solar power, natural gas, or propane- or geothermal-heated water.
Contact the experts at Aladdin Heating & Cooling with your heat pump questions. We’ve been proudly serving Macomb, Farmington Hills and Southfield since 1945.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Detroit, Michigan about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about heat pumps and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock