Saddleback Plumbing Heating & Air Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Heat Pump’

The Truth About Electric Furnace and Gas Furnace Efficiency Ratings

Monday, October 21st, 2019

twenty-dollar-bill-foldedFall is the usual time for homeowners to make changes in their central heating systems. Even in sunny Orange County, where the only snow we see is on the distant peaks, a central heating system is necessary for homes that often get drafty on the winter nights. Sometimes the upgrade for a heater is to buy a new one.

If you’re home is like most, you use a furnace for central heating. The two common types of furnaces people use are natural gas furnaces and electric furnaces. You might not face a choice about which type of have—if you don’t have a natural gas line, you definitely won’t get a natural gas furnace! But when you do have to make a choice, be careful that you don’t make the mistake about furnace efficiency ratings that has often misled customers into making the poorer system choice.

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Heat Pump Problems to Watch for this Fall

Monday, October 19th, 2015

As we move further into fall, you’re probably going to start relying on your heat pump more and more often to keep comfortable. The more you use your heat pump, the more likely it will be for problems to crop up over time. The faster you can get these problems repaired, the better shape your heat pump will be in. Let’s take a look at some of the problems your heat pump can run into, and when you need to call for repairs.

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Why a Heat Pump Won’t Switch from Cooling to Heating (and Vice Versa)

Friday, January 30th, 2015

As you probably already know, part of what makes heat pumps such great choices for home heating is that they can fulfill both heating and cooling roles. This saves you money and space by removing the need to install an air conditioner in your home. However, being able to provide both of these functions also makes the heat pump a more complicated system. The more complicated a system is, the more ways it is possible for the system to break. If your heat pump won’t switch from cooling to heating, or vice versa, read on to find out why.

How a Heat Pump Works

Heat pumps are not combustion based systems. They don’t burn any kind of fuel to create heat. Instead, they siphon heat from the surrounding air and move it from one place to another. This is done through the use of the two primary parts of a heat pump, the inside unit and the outside unit. These two units are connected to each other by a conduit that both provides power and refrigerant. When the heat is turned on, the outside unit evaporates refrigerant inside a coil to draw thermal energy out of the air. The refrigerant gas, now carrying all of that thermal energy, flows inside to the inside unit. The inside unit then condenses the refrigerant back into a liquid, releasing the thermal energy so that it can heat the home.

The Reversing Valve

The direction the refrigerant flows through the system is what determines whether the heat pump is in heating or cooling mode. If the refrigerant is flowing one way, the outside unit captures heat to send it inside. If the refrigerant flows the other way, the inside unit captures heat and sends it outside. The part that determines the direction of refrigerant is called the reversing valve.

The reversing valve is a 4-way junction in the heat pump’s refrigerant line, which determines the direction that refrigerant flows through the system. In heating mode, a slide in the valve forces the refrigerant to flow in one direction. In cooling mode, the slide moves to force refrigerant to flow in the opposite direction. If a heat pump won’t switch modes, it’s a sign that the reversing valve is stuck in one position. If the valve can’t move, the refrigerant flow can’t be reversed and the heat pump becomes stuck in one mode.

If your heat pump is having issues, schedule an appointment with Saddleback Plumbing today. We provide professional heat pump repair throughout Lake Forest, CA.

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How Heat Pumps Are Different from Forced Air Systems

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

The most common way to heat and cool a home is through a central forced-air system, where blowers send conditioned air through a ventilation system to distribute it throughout the rooms. Air conditioners and furnaces are both types of forced-air systems.

How do heat pumps differ from these systems? First of all, heat pumps are also forced-air systems. In fact, much of their operation is identical to that of air conditioners. They attach to ductwork and an indoor blower fan distributes the air through the ventilation shafts, the same way that other forced-air systems work.

But heat pumps have some important differences from furnaces and air conditioners, as we’ll look at. If you are considering installing a heat pump in Laguna Hills, CA for your home, you can find answers to all your questions at Saddleback Plumbing. Call us today and talk to one of our knowledgeable staff members.

The heat pump difference

The standard set-up for a home that uses an air conditioner and a furnace (either gas or electric) is to package the air conditioner above the furnace, which is above the blower fan. The blower works for both AC and furnace, sending air through the furnaces heat exchanger and through the air conditioner’s evaporator coil and into the ventilation system.

A heat pump, however, works on its own: it is both a heating system and cooling system. The indoor unit has a refrigerant coil and blower fans, and the outdoor unit contains the compressor, fan, and refrigerant coil. The heat pump works in the same fashion as the air conditioner: the compressor circulates refrigerant through the indoor and outdoor units, absorbing heat using the indoor coil and releasing it from the outdoor coil. The major difference is that, through a component called the reversing valve, the heat pump can change the direction the refrigerant flows. This means the heat pump removes heat using the outdoor coil and releases heat from the indoor coil. With only a single change on the thermostat, the heat pump switches from an air conditioner to a heater.

However, in either mode, a heat pump still uses forced-air to distribute comfort.

Choosing a heat pump

A heat pump makes an ideal choice for year-round comfort in the Southern California climate. It can deliver air conditioning the equal of a standalone system, and will not struggle with the excessively low temperatures that can cut into efficiency in heating mode. A heat pump also uses less power in heating mode than a furnace does: you will not only save money by not needing to install a furnace, you’ll also pay less to heat your home.

Saddleback Plumbing can install, repair, and maintain your heat pump in Laguna Hills, CA. Our more than 30 years of experience should make us one of your top choices for home comfort.

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How Does a Heat Pump Work?

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

In mild climates like Mission Viejo, CA, heat pump technology makes an attractive alternative to traditional gas furnace systems. Heat pumps combine the function of a heater and an air conditioner into a single unit, allowing you to both heat and cool the house with one system. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, they can save up to 40% on your monthly bills. They function best in mild climates where temperatures don’t drop below 40 degrees very often, making them perfect for Southern California towns like Mission Viejo.

Saddleback Plumbing can repair or install a heat pump in your Mission Viejo home!

How does a heat pump work? Read on for the answers.

Heat pumps are based on the same technology as traditional air conditioners, which involves a closed loop system that circulates refrigerant gas. In the summer, the gas enters a compressor on the outside part of the unit, which subjects it to a huge amount of pressure and heat. The pressurized gas then moves to a series of condenser coils, which bleed off the heat into the outside air and reduce the gas to a liquid state. Still under pressure, the liquid moves to the inside part of the unit and passes through an expansion valve into a series of evaporator coils. As the liquid evaporates, it pulls heat from the air above the coils, making it very cold. A blower fan then blows the cold air into your home, keeping the air cool and comfortable when temperatures rise. The gas then returns to the compressor to start the cycle all over again.

That’s the summertime. In the winter, you essentially reverse the process. The evaporator array becomes the condenser and the condenser array becomes the evaporator: releasing cold air outside and blowing hot air into your home.

Heat pumps usually cost a little more to install than gas furnaces, which can be offset by their increased savings and efficiency.  If you need Mission Viejo heating service, there’s a reliable company nearby to help. The experts at Saddleback Plumbing can explain how a heat pump works, then help you find the right unit for you before scheduling an installation. Pick up the phone and call us for an appointment today.

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