A heat pump works in two basic modes: cooling and heating. In cooling mode—which is almost identical to the operation of an air conditioner—a compressor pumps high temperature gaseous refrigerant to a reversing valve. The valve directs the flow toward the outside unit and its coil, which acts as the condenser where a fan cools the refrigerant to a liquid and releases heat. The liquid refrigerant then moves to the indoor unit and its coil, which acts as an evaporator, absorbing heat from inside so cooler air is blown out. The refrigerant moves back to the reversing valve, which returns it to the compressor to start the cycle over again.
The heating mode works almost the same, except the reversing valve sends the high pressure gas refrigerant the other direction, toward the indoor coil, where it releases its heat, then travels to the outdoor coil to absorb heat.
Although simple to explain, the mechanisms involved are complex, and can lead to operating problems in either mode because of malfunctions. Comfort Zone Heating & Air can help you whenever you need heat pump repair in Atlanta, GA because your system is having difficulty heating, cooling, or switching between the two.
Some Common Mode Problems
The most frequent trouble people encounter with the modes on their heat pump is the unit failing to switch from one to the other and blowing only cold or warm air. This is usually the fault of a bad reversing valve: when refrigerant leaves the compressor as a hot gas, the valve determines where it goes. Should the valve fail, it will only send the refrigerant one direction; which direction depends on the manufacturer. Reversing valves are either in an electrically excited or relaxed mode, and whether this corresponds to heating or cooling is something the manufacturer sets. When a reversing valve breaks, it will remain in relaxed mode. A repair technician will need to swap out the valve for a new one.
Because heating and cooling mode work through the same process, trouble with one mode will almost always mean trouble for the other. If you have a refrigerant leak, it can cause ice to form on whichever coil is functioning as the evaporator. A compressor failure will also cause both heating and cooling to stop. It’s vital that you don’t ignore problems with one setting because you don’t plan to use it for a stretch. The malfunction will transfer over.
Heat pumps need work from skilled repair technicians who know them inside and out, both cooling and heating. If you encounter trouble in either mode, call for the Atlanta, GA heat pump repair specialists at Comfort Zone Heating & Air right away. They’re ready 24/7 to assist you.
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