To survive the hot summers and cool winters of the Garden City GA area, heat pumps are some of the most efficient and effective HVAC devices available. Although they are not quite as familiar as regular split-level air conditioners, heat pumps operate on the same basic principles. Finding out how a heat pump works will help you make the right decisions about heating and cooling equipment for your home.
How a Heat Pump Works
Understanding how a heat pump works requires a little basic knowledge of the properties of matter. When a substance undergoes a phase change from a lower to a higher energy state, such as going from liquid to gas, it absorbs heat. Conversely, a phase change from a higher to a lower energy state, such as gas to liquid, releases heat. Air conditioners and heat pumps alike work by transferring energy through these phase changes.
At the evaporator coil on one end of the machine, a chemical called refrigerant absorbs heat and evaporates, becoming a gas. The heat pump then moves this gas to the condenser coil on the opposite end and applies pressure, forcing it to condense into liquid form and releasing heat in the process. The liquid refrigerant is then returned to the evaporator coil to repeat the heat transfer. Thus, a heat pump consumes only electricity to transfer heat; the refrigerant itself is conserved and never decreases during normal operation.
While a regular air conditioner can transfer heat only in one direction, a heat pump is reversible and thus serves two purposes. During the cooling season, it transfers heat out of the home; during the heating season, it collects heat from the outside air and transfers it into the home. Heat pumps are assigned two ratings to describe the efficiency of these cycles: The seasonal energy efficiency ration (SEER) gives the efficiency of the cooling cycle, and the heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) shows the efficiency of the heating cycle.
Benefits of a Heat Pump
Because the process they use does not depend on combustion, heat pumps are safer than boilers and furnaces and tend to be much more environmentally friendly. Moreover, heat pumps are generally very efficient machines, particularly in areas with fairly mild climates. A heat pump has to work very hard to keep a home warm when the outdoor air becomes very cold, but in Georgia, the winters are rarely cold enough for this to be an issue. In places with hot summers and cool winters, heat pumps can easily keep homes comfortable throughout the year.
At Byrd Heating and Air Conditioning, we always stay on top of the latest in heat pump technology and know how to find the best equipment for our friends and neighbors. If you would like to know more about heat pumps or need maintenance on your existing machine, don’t hesitate to call and schedule an appointment with one of our heat pump experts.