The Air-Source Heat Pump and Its 3 Cycles

In our climate a heat pump is one of the more efficient ways to condition your home year-round because there are three heat pump cycles that heat, defrost and cool. It’s an amazing appliance because it extracts heat from the air to condition your home by using a reversing valve that brings it in during the winter and takes it out during the summer. The refrigerant inside the heat pump provides the medium for this heat transfer.The Air-Source Heat Pump and Its 3 Cycles

Heating Cycle

In the heating mode, the refrigerant flows through the outdoor condenser’s coils and picks up the heat in the air to warm the refrigerant. As it warms, it becomes a gas and when it flows into the compressor, it’s compressed, which increases its temperature. When pressure increases on gas, it heats it up. The compressor sends the hot gas into the evaporator coil inside the indoor air handler, where the air blowing over it picks up the heat. As it gives up its heat, it converts back to a liquid.

Defrost Cycle

The heat pump cycles into the defrosting mode when it’s at or near freezing in the winter. As air blows over the condensing coil, the moisture in the air turns to frost on the condenser’s coil. The heat pump reverses its cycle to melt the frost, taking the heat from your home to do this.

A heat pump that has a demand-frost cycle is a better choice in our climate, because it senses when frost forms on the coil and only turns on when it’s present. The alternative is a timed cycle that runs regardless of the outdoor weather and drives up energy bills from unnecessary cycling.

Cooling Cycle

In the cooling mode, the heating process reverses and instead of bringing hot vapor into your home, it sends the chilled refrigerant into your home. The warm indoor air turns it into a vapor and sends it out, where it’s cooled in the condenser coil.

To learn more about heat pump cycles, contact Amarillo Air Conditioning. We’ve been helping Amarillo area homeowners with HVAC services for more than 50 years.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Amarillo, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about air-source heat pumps and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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