Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Heat Pump’

How Does a Reversing Valve Work in a Heat Pump?

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Many times, customers will ask why a heat pump can provide both heating and cooling while an air conditioner can’t. There’s a simple answer to this: a component called a reversing valve; heat pumps have them and air conditioners don’t. It may seem a little crazy that this one component can make such a big difference, but understanding what the reversing valve does can help make it clear. First, let’s take a quick look at how a heat pump works.

How a Heat Pump Works

Heat pumps do not generate either heating or cooling; instead, they transfer heat from one location to another, with the help of refrigerant. During the winter months, heat pumps absorb the heat in the surrounding air, concentrate it, and distribute it to your home’s living spaces. In the summer months, heat pumps absorb the heat in your home and transfer it outside. However, it is the reversing valve that allows the heat pump to change from cooling to heating and back.

The Reversing Valve

The reversing valve is a medium-sized, cylindrical metal component with 3 smaller tube-like valves on one side and a single tube-like valve on the other; there is also a small electrical component called a solenoid on top of it. Inside the reversing valve is a sliding mechanism that moves back and forth, according to the mode the valve is in (heating or cooling). As the homeowner, all you have to do to change modes is press a button on your dual-mode thermostat. When the thermostat cues the heat pump to change modes, the solenoid gives the sliding mechanism a little push and the refrigerant inside the valve does the rest. This action, in which the directional flow of the refrigerant is changed, is what physically changes the mode of a heat pump and for your system.

“Stuck” Reversing Valve

One of the more common problems with the reversing valve is that it can get stuck in a mode or even between modes. When the valve is stuck, your heat pump can’t work properly and repair is required. If the reversing valve is stuck due to a faulty solenoid, the solenoid can be replaced; however, if there is a refrigerant leak or other issue, the reversing valve will need to be replaced.

Bi-annual maintenance helps keep your heat pump in North Potomac in great shape. If it’s been more than 6 months since your last heat pump maintenance appointment, or you are experiencing problems with your heat pump, call Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing today.

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What Benefits are There to Switching to a Heat Pump?

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Here in Rockville, MD our winters are plenty cold, our summers are hot and muggy, which means homeowners need both a great heating and cooling system for their homes. In light of that, you may want to consider switching to a heat pump, which combines the effects of a heater and an air conditioner into one single unit. It uses the same basic technology as an air conditioner, but with a few twists to make it useable any time of the year. Heat pumps offer several advantages over other heating systems. What benefit are there to switching to a heat pump? A few quick answers can be found below.

  • Increased efficiency. Heat pumps use less energy than normal HVAC systems, since they transfer heat rather than creating it by burning a fuel (it absorbs it from the nearby air during the heating and cooling process). That means it uses energy very efficiently, and can save you money on your utility bills.
  • Convenience. Since heat pumps both heat and cool your home, you only need one HVAC system. This can not only save on money on the initial installation, but also means you don’t have to worry about whether or not your furnace will turn on at the beginning of the heating season, you’ll know your heat pump is running and able to change modes.
  • Resale value. Because heat pumps are so efficient, they can improve the resale value of your home when the time comes to sell.

For more answers to the question “what benefits are there to switching to a heat pump?” call upon the experts at Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating. We operate in Rockville, heating and heat pumps are among our specialties, and our courteous staff will be happy to discuss any repairs or installation operation you may have in mind. Pick up the phone to set up an appointment today 301-670-0034.

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Heat Pump Question: Why Won’t My Heat Pump Start?

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

If you are having trouble with your Germantown heating system, or more specifically your heat pump, you may be surprised to learn that it is probably not the heat pump that is to blame.  That seems counterintuitive, but it’s true: the heat pump can be in perfect working order but still not turn on.

The good news, then, is that your heat pump is fine and you won’t have to pay an arm and a leg to fix or replace it. Still though, these types of problems can very frustrating to diagnose and correct. There are four common culprits when a heat pump won’t start.

  • A common problem is no power to your Germantown heat pump, which is certainly going to cause it to stop working. You should check your breaker box to make sure that the circuit breaker was not tripped. If your heat pump is wired to a switch, check to see if that switch is turned on. While this might seem obvious, its an important first step to take when troubleshooting.
  • Another quick check any homeowner can make is to see if the heat pump is set to the right mode. You want ‘heat’ mode on during the winter and ‘cool’ mode on for the summer. Again, this might seem obvious, but you should always check the mode before deciding that your heat pump needs a professional repair.
  • If you have recently replaced your home’s thermostat, it might not be communicating properly with your heat pump. Some thermostats don’t work well with heat pumps, so you should always check the model’s compatibility before installation. Incorrect wiring may also cause a problem. While you probably need a professional to fix this issue, it is relatively simple to resolve.
  • The last problem that commonly occurs is the heat pump’s own circuit breaker is tripped. Check your unit to see if your unit has its own circuit breaker to determine if that is the problem.

If you exhaust these problems and the problem persists or recurs – for example, if the circuit breaker trips again – call a Germantown heating and air conditioning contractor to work on your heat pump. There may be something larger at work that is causing problems in the electrical system that controls your heat pump, and that requires some expertise to properly address.

If you are having any problems with your heat pump, give Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating a call today!

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