Residential Plumbing & HVAC Experts

Your Air-Source Heat Pump and Its 3 Cycles

Whether you are considering purchasing a new heat pump, or have recently installed one in you San Diego area home, knowing about air-source heat pump cycles is important to understanding the energy efficiency of this heating and cooling equipment. The three cycles – heating, cooling, and defrosting – allow heat pumps to keep your household feeling comfortable and saving money no matter the season.

The Heating Cycle

San Diego has an overall amazing climate, but temperatures can still drop during the winter months. The heating cycle of air-source heat pumps is a great way to cheaply and effectively heat your home during these cold spells. In its heating cycle, the heat pump utilizes refrigerant to absorb heat from the outdoor air. By absorbing heat energy, the refrigerant changes from liquid into a low-temperature vapor. The vapor enters the heat pump’s compressor unit where its volume is reduced and it becomes a hot gas. This hot gas is sent to the indoor condenser where the gas’s heat is transferred to your home’s living spaces, quickly and efficiently heating your home.

In places where winter temperatures frequently drop below freezing, the effectiveness of air-source heat pumps can be compromised and backup heating systems are often required. That’s not an issue here in Southern California unless you live in the mountains.

The Cooling Cycle

In this cycle, the air-source heat pump works in reverse, absorbing heat from your indoor environment and transferring it outside.

The Defrost Cycle

This is the most unique of the air-source heat pump cycles. During winter and while the heat pump is operating in heating mode, moisture can sometimes freeze on your outside coil. This generally happens when temperatures have fallen to around freezing temperatures. To melt the frozen buildup, your heat pump will briefly switch in reverse, to its cooling cycle. This releases heat energy instead of absorbing it, quickly melting the frozen moisture before the heat pumps returns to its winter heating cycle. Generally, this isn’t something to worry about in the San Diego area either.

To learn more about air-source heat pump cycles, or for information on other heating and cooling products and solutions, please contact your local HVAC experts at Sherlock Plumbing, Heating & Air, proudly serving north San Diego and surrounding communities.