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Atlanta Heating & Cooling Savvy: Understanding the Heat Pump Reversing Valve

    A growing number of Atlanta homes use a heat pump for year-round heating and cooling, instead of the conventional furnace and air conditioner we’re all familiar with. Yet, some people still consider using separate heating and cooling systems to be their only option. In part, this may be due to skepticism that a single system can both heat and cool your home.

    So, how is a heat pump able to provide year-round indoor comfort? It all hinges on a mechanism called the reversing valve. To understand the role of the reversing valve, it’s helpful to first understand the basics of how a heat pump operates.

    How a Heat Pump Cools Your Home

    A heat pump cools indoor air much the same way as a conventional air conditioning unit. Both contain a refrigerant that absorbs heat (or thermal energy) from the air inside. The captured heat is then pumped outdoors, leaving the air inside cooler.

    How a Heat Pump Heats Your Home

    Unlike a conventional heating system, which uses electricity or burns a fuel to produce heat, a heat pump operates the same way it does to cool your home, but in reverse. In other words, it uses the same refrigerant to absorb thermal energy from the outside air and then pumps the captured heat indoors.

    Think of the Reversing Valve as a Switch

    The reversing valve in a heat pump switches the process between heating and cooling. Through a control board or a thermostat, the reversing valve controls whether heat is absorbed from the inside air and pumped outside or absorbed from the outside air and pumped inside. It is the mechanism that enables a single system to keep your Atlanta home comfortable throughout both the heating and the cooling seasons.

    Ready to learn more about heat pumps?

    The Atlanta HVAC experts at Comfort Zone Heating & Cooling can help you decide if a heat pump is a good choice for you. Contact us today.