Using Heat Pumps in the Summer

Heat pumps are among the most efficient heating systems you can install to keep your home warm in the winter. But did you know you can use them to keep your home cool during the summer as well? During the summer, heat pumps operate just like energy-efficient air conditioners, pulling heat out of the air in your home and keeping the inside comfortable.

How to Switch Your Heat Pump to COOL Mode

If you want your heat pump to work efficiently and reliably all summer long, follow this process when switching your system to cool mode:

Have your heat pump inspected – before you get ready to use your heat pump in the summer, you should schedule a heat pump inspection. When you call Peninsula, we will test connections, monitor airflow, and perform a number of other checks to make sure your system will last all summer long without any major problems. A heat pump inspection is the best way to extend your system’s life and reduce the likelihood of breakdowns.

Adjust your thermostat – there are two things you need to do with your thermostat to switch your heat pump to cooling mode. First, adjust the switch on the bottom of the thermostat from HEAT to COOL—this will reverse the heat pump cycle. Next, make sure the fan is set to AUTO instead of on—this will prevent the fan from running all day and night, which will cost you a lot of money and can potentially damage your system.

Check your air filters – your Peninsula technician will do this as part of a heat pump inspection, but it doesn’t hurt to be in the habit of checking your air filters—especially when it gets really hot while you’re running your heat pump in the summer. You should be changing your filters every month to three months, depending on how often you’re using your system.

Set the proper temperature – everyone has a different idea of what a comfortable temperature is, but at Peninsula, we recommend setting your thermostat to the highest temperature you can be happy with. Cooling costs can get expensive, and every degree you set your thermostat higher can save you 3 – 5 percent on your monthly energy bills!

How do heat pumps work?

During the summer, heat pumps work just like regular air conditioners. What this means is they use a refrigerant to absorb heat from the air inside your home and transport it outside. It works like this:

  • Refrigerant enters the compressor (outdoor unit) of your heat pump system as a hot low-pressure gas and is compressed into a high-pressure gas.
  • Now a hot high-pressure gas, the refrigerant enters the condenser where it is condensed into a liquid. During the condensation process, the liquid refrigerant gives up its heat, which is radiated to the outside air.
  • Now a cold, pressurized liquid, the refrigerant moves into the expansion valve, which restricts the flow of the liquid. Upon exiting the expansion valve, the pressure lets up.
  • The cold, low-pressure liquid now moves into the evaporator, where it absorbs heat from air blown over the evaporator coils and turns into a gas.
  • Now a hot low-pressure gas once again, the cycle starts over. The cycle repeats until the temperature of the air in your home matches that set by the thermostat.

During the winter, your heat pump follows the exact same steps in reverse, absorbing heat energy from the outside and moving it indoors.

Want to have your heat pump inspected? Call Peninsula!

Peninsula has been providing home services in Delaware and Maryland since 1935. If you need a heat pump inspection, call us today!

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