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Heat Pump vs. AC Repair: What’s the Difference?


Perhaps you got a heat pump to replace your old air conditioner. You know it’s similar to an air conditioner, but obviously it’s not exactly the same. So what do you need to know about the differences between the two? Do heat pumps need maintenance that’s different from what air conditioners need? Do they have different repair needs? We’ve got the information you need below.

Heat Pump and AC Similarities

The vast majority of components are the same whether you have a heat pump or an air conditioner, which means that most of the systems’ needs and potential problems are the same as well. They both have compressors, refrigerant coils, blower fans and the motors to power them, thermostats, and so on. 

Whether you have a heat pump or an air conditioner, the compressor pressurizes the refrigerant. This keeps it moving through the system of coils. When the refrigerant evaporates from a liquid to a gas, it absorbs heat from the surrounding area. When it condenses from a gas back into a liquid, it releases that heat into the surrounding area. 

Heat Pump and AC Differences

The amazing thing heat pumps can do that air conditioners cannot is to reverse that cycle, absorbing heat from outdoors and carrying it in to heat your home during chilly weather. This is accomplished with a component called the reversing valve, which uses an electromagnet called a solenoid to open or close different directions for refrigerant flow.

Heat Pump Maintenance Requirements

Since a heat pump can do all the work of both cooling and heating your home, it spends a lot more time running than an air conditioner. This means it requires more-frequent maintenance to clean out dust and grit, reapply lubricant, and inspect and adjust all the components. This should be done twice a year, ideally in spring and again in fall.

Heat Pump Repair Needs

Because a heat pump and an air conditioner largely have the same components, chances are, if something goes wrong with your heat pump, it’s the same sort of thing that would go wrong with an air conditioner. This means that the indications that it’s in need of repair are also the same: odd noises or smells, poor performance, starting and stopping too often, rising electric bills, etc.

The one thing you need to be aware of is that reversing valve. If you can’t get your heat pump to switch out of heating mode and start cooling your home at the beginning of the summer, the reversing valve is stuck in position. Chances are, that solenoid needs to be replaced so the slider in the valve will move again. This is a straightforward repair but it must be done by a qualified technician.

If this happens to you, or you have any other concerns that might require heat pump repair in Johns Creek, GA, we’re always ready to help you out.

To speak with a member of our team, contact DC Cheek Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today. Fixed, At the Speed of Life!

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