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Kool Breeze of Northwest Florida, Inc Blog

The Reversing Valve: The Key Component of Heat Pumps

Heat pumps combine two comfort functions into a single system: forced-air heating and cooling. During the long hot season in Florida, a heat pump can provide a level of indoor cooling that is equal to a comparably sized standalone air conditioner. During the shorter periods of cold weather, a heat pump can switch over to providing a sufficient level of warmth to keep a home pleasant without excessive energy waste. In Pensacola Beach, FL, heat pumps are one of the best ways to stay comfortable around the year.

In most of the important ways, a heat pump works like an air conditioner. The key difference between the two is a component called the reversing valve. Without this valve, a heat pump would remain in one mode or the other. If you have a heat pump that either won’t give you heating or won’t give you cooling, the fault probably lies in the reversing valve. Call Kool Breeze, any time of the day or night, for the repair work necessary to restore your heat pump to full operation.

The Reversing Valve

The job of the reversing valve in a heat pump is to change the route of refrigerant between the indoor and outdoor coils, which will cause the two the exchange their functions of condenser and evaporator. When the refrigerant moves first from the compressor to the indoor coils, the heat pump is in heating mode. When it moves first to the outdoor coils, the heat pump is in cooling mode.

A reversing valve operates by a pressure difference inside a metal tube, controlled by a solenoid. The pressure change moves a slider through the tube, and this slide straddles two of three tube openings. When at rest (de-energized), the slide creates a pressure difference on one side of the tube that allows the refrigerant from the compressor to move first toward the indoor coils and makes them act as the condenser, releasing heat to the inside of the home. When the slide shifts to the other side of the valve (energized) the pressure change now permits the refrigerant to move to the outdoor coils first, making them the condenser and releasing heat to the outdoors. An electrical connection from the thermostat controls whether the reversing valve is energized or de-energized.

A broken reversing valve will mean a heat pump that is trapped in one mode or the other. If this occurs, the reversing valve will need to be replaced (this is less expensive than trying to repair them), and this job requires professionals to handle. The thermostat can also lose its connection to the valve, which will usually trap the pump in heating mode because the valve will remain de-energized. If your heat pump starts to act as if it has a bad reversing valve, call for trained heating technicians right away.

At Kool Breeze, we want you to enjoy comfortable temperatures in your home no matter the weather outside. We install heat pumps in Pensacola Beach, FL and provide all the repair and maintenance work necessary to keep them working for many years. Give us a call the next time you need heat pump service.

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