How do heat pumps work?
A heat pump uses the outside air to both heat and cool your home. In heating mode, the heat pump extracts outside heat and transfers into your home. In cooling mode, the directions are reversed by removing heat from your home and performing like a traditional air conditioner. Heat pump only moves heat rather than generating heat.
It consists of two main components: an indoor air handler and an outdoor heat pump, which is similar to a central air-conditioning unit.
Cooling Mode: When you want to get cool on hot days, the heat pump operates much like a central air-conditioner, absorbing heat from inside your home and expelling it outdoors.
Heating Mode: When you want to get warm on cold days, the process reverses and the pump absorbs heat from the outside air and delivers it indoors to heat your home. A heat pump can be coupled with a gas furnace, something known as a dual-fuel system.
The Physics: Heat energy is absorbed in the outdoor unit by the cool liquid refrigerant, turning it into cold gas. The pressure is then applied to the cold gas, turning it to hot gas. The hot gas is cooled in the indoor unit by passing air, heating the air and condensing the gas to warm liquid. The warm liquid is relieved of pressure as it enters the outdoor unit, turning it to cool liquid and renewing the cycle.