Air Conditioning Experts Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Heat Pumps’

Did You Know? Whole-House Heat Pumps Work All Year

Monday, February 6th, 2017

digital-thermostatA heat pump is a heating and cooling system in one. That doesn’t mean manufacturers combine a furnace—the conventional forced-air heating system—with an air conditioner in a single cabinet. Instead, a heat pump uses the same components for both heating and air conditioning. And it does this efficiently.

Read on for more information about this two-in-one system, or call our team for heat pump service in Roswell, GA.

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Why Does My Outside Unit Run When the Heater Is On?

Monday, December 19th, 2016

If you purchased a home with heating and air conditioning already included, you might not know much about the comfort systems in place. You may assume that the systems work like the heating and air conditioning equipment you’ve had in the past. And, often, that means a separate air conditioning and heating system.

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Why We Recommend Heat Pumps

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

If you have a whole-home heating and cooling system in your home, it most likely consists of two completely separate units: a furnace and an air conditioner. While they may both use the air ducts and perhaps even the same blower components, they have separate parts that work quite differently. A furnace uses gas or electricity to heat the home. And if yours is electric, it  probably uses quite a bit of energy every time it’s cold out.

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How a Heat Pump Helps You Save Year Round

Monday, April 11th, 2016

When homeowners ask us what type of air conditioner we recommend as a quality replacement system, we often recommend a heat pump. “But isn’t that a heating system?” you might ask. And while it does heat your home in the winter, it’s also primarily an air conditioner.

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How Today’s Heat Pumps Are Better than Ever Before

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Maybe you’ve had a heat pump in the past, and maybe you had a bad experience with its level of performance. Perhaps you’ve heard that heat pumps do poorly in cold weather and you’re skeptical about installing a new one. No matter what kinds of experiences you may have had with a heat pump 15 or 20 years ago, you should know that times have changed. Today’s heat pumps perform better than they ever have before.

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Why Maintenance Is Important for Your Heat Pump

Friday, February 20th, 2015

One could argue that heat pumps work even harder than separate heating or cooling systems simply because heat pumps provide both heating and cooling on their own. This means that your heat pump operates almost all year versus a single season. As such, it is highly recommended that you schedule heat pump maintenance for your Snellville system twice a year.

What Happens During a Heat Pump Maintenance Appointment?

Here is a general overview of what happens during a heat pump maintenance appointment with your Air Conditioning Experts, Inc., technician:

  • Full inspection of the system
  • Change the air filter
  • Check refrigerant levels
  • Check all electrical wiring and components, including circuit boards
  • Cleaning of components
  • Performance testing
  • Cleaning of condensate array

Why Schedule Maintenance?

Here are some reasons why maintenance is important:

  • Better energy efficiency – many homeowners use heat pump systems because they are very energy efficient, but when your heat pump system isn’t properly maintained, the efficiency level can decrease significantly, anywhere from 10%-25%.
  • Prevents repairs – the cleaning, adjusting and lubrication heat pumps receive during a routine maintenance appointment helps keep the components in optimal shape, reducing potential repairs. Additionally, the thorough inspection allows the technician to detect any problems before they can become big issues.
  • Extend life of the equipment – maintenance keeps your system in good working order year after year, which can help extend the life of the equipment.

Can I Perform Maintenance Myself?

The short answer is yes, but the better question is, should you? Heat pumps are complicated devices; as such, there is a lot of room for error if you don’t have the expertise needed to work on them. Are you willing to take the risk of breaking and/or damaging your heat pump just to save a few dollars?

If it’s been more than twelve months since your last heat pump maintenance appointment in Snellville, call Air Conditioning Experts, Inc., in Atlanta to day and schedule an appointment!

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Heat Pump FAQ: Why Is My Outdoor Unit Still Running in the Winter?

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

If you’ve been paying attention to your heat pump during the summer, you’ve noticed that the outdoor unit runs by blowing hot air out of the house to cool it. You may be a bit perplexed, then, to discover that the outdoor unit is still running during the winter when you turn the heat on. Let’s take a look at why this happens, starting with how a heat pump works.

How a Heat Pump Works

A heat pump is primarily composed of two units, an outdoor unit and an indoor unit. You already know this, of course. What you may not know is that the two units are connected by a refrigerant line that runs between them. This line terminates in a coil in each unit. When the system is on, the coil in one unit is evaporating refrigerant inside it, while the coil in the other unit is condensing refrigerant back into a liquid.

When refrigerant is evaporated inside one of the coils, it pulls heat from the surrounding air and into the coil itself, where it is stored in the gaseous refrigerant. The refrigerant gas then travels to the other unit, where the coil condenses it back into a liquid. This releases the heat from the refrigerant and back out into the air.

Why the Outdoor Unit is Still Running

So, you see, the outdoor unit is running when your heat pump is on because you told it to. When you turn on the heat, the outdoor unit becomes the one that evaporates refrigerant to pull heat from the outside air. The indoor unit then condenses it and releases heat into the house. The only difference between a heat pump that’s in heating mode and one that’s in cooling mode is which way the refrigerant is moving.

So, if you see the outdoor unit of your heat pump running during the winter when you have the heat on, don’t worry. It’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to be doing.

If you’d like to know more, call Air Conditioning Experts, Inc. We install heat pumps throughout Atlanta.

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R-22 vs. R-410A: Heat Pump Refrigerant Types

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

Refrigerants are the life blood of heat pumps (as well as air conditioners). They are chemical mixtures, referred to as blends, than change easily from liquid to gas and back again. Refrigerant travels through a heat pump—absorbing and releasing heat as it changes between states—to carry out the process of heat exchange that allows a heat pump to warm your house during winter (heat brought from the outside) and cool it during summer (heat taken away from the inside).

Heat pump and ACs have used many different refrigerant blends during the last hundred years. We’ll look at the two most common, one of which is probably in your heat pump right now: R-22 and R-410A. When you need experienced technicians who can perform effective repairs on heat pumps in Atlanta, GA, no matter the refrigerant blend, contact Air Conditioning Experts, Inc. today.

R-22 (chlorodifluoromethane)

The earliest refrigerant types were chemicals that were either toxic or combustible, like sulfur dioxide, methyl chloride, and ammonia. It was only when chemists developed blends made of non-toxic and non-flammable chlorofluorocarbons, trademarked under the name Freon, that air conditioners became safe enough for use in the home. DuPont developed a notation system for their blends which used the letter “R” followed by a number to describe the blend’s molecular structure.

R-22 was, for many decades, the dominant Freon blend used in heat pumps and ACs. However, as a chlorofluorocarbon, it has an ozone-depleting effect. Although R-22 is still manufactured and used in developing countries, the U.S. has initiated a phase-out program to eliminate R-22 from use by 2020. As of 2010, U.S. manufacturers may no longer produce equipment that uses R-22.

R-410A (difluoromethane and pentafluoroethane)

Sometimes trademarked as “Puron,” R-410A is the principal refrigerant blend used to replace R-22 during the phaseout. If you purchased an AC or heat pump within the last five years, it almost certainly uses R-410A. The blend solves the problem of ozone-depleting gases and also increases heat pump efficiency. Although R-410A does have global warming potential, its reduced power consumption makes it create far less global warming gases than R-22. Currently, all window unit ACs and central air conditioners and heat pumps in the U.S. use R-410A.

Recharging your refrigerant

It’s important that you only hire skilled technicians to help you with heat pump repairs due to leaking refrigerant because they must know how to replace the lost charge with the correct blend. Putting the wrong blend into a heat pump can ruin the system. Air Conditioning Experts, Inc. provides the care for heat pumps in Atlanta, GA that will keep them running, no matter their refrigerant blend.

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How a Heat Pump Uses Refrigerant

Monday, January 13th, 2014

A heat pump can serve as both a heater and an air conditioner. Here in Atlanta, heat pump technology is very popular, since it works best in places with mild winters like ours. It works in a manner similar to traditional air conditioning, with a closed-loop system containing refrigerant gas. Here’s how a heat pump uses refrigerant to both warm and cool your home.

The closed-loop system contains two sets of valves and coils: one inside the house and one outside the house. In the summer time, the refrigerant is subjected to a lot of pressure by the compressor. It then moves to the outdoor condenser coils, which dissipate off the heat into the outside air and convert the gas to a liquid in the process.

The liquid then moves to the inside valve, which releases a set amount into the inside coils. There, the liquid evaporates and turns back into a gas, pulling heat from the air outside the coils in the process. A fan then blows the cool air into your home to lower the temperature.

That’s what happens in the summer, and is essentially no different than what happens in an air conditioner. With a heat pump, however, the process can basically be reversed. That means that in the winter, the indoor and outdoor coil reverse functions, with the outdoor coil absorbing heat and the indoor coil releasing the heat into your home.

If you know how a heat pump uses refrigerant, you can begin to understand what happens when your heat pump needs repairs. Here in Atlanta, heat pump issues can be addressed by Air Conditioning Experts. We pride ourselves on doing the job right the first time, every time, so give us a call today!

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Signs of Wear and Tear on Your Heat Pump

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

In towns like Atlanta, heat pump systems make an attractive alternative to more traditional heating and cooling systems. They work according to the same principles as air conditioners, only the process is “reversible” which allows you to heat your home in the winter as well as cooling it in the summer. Heat pumps can be more expensive to install then some other systems, but they use much less energy, saving you money on your monthly bills. They also work particularly well in areas with mild winters, like here in Atlanta. Like any other mechanical device, however, they do require periodic upkeep as time and frequent use take their toll. Here are some signs of wear and tear on your heat pump in Atlanta.

The easiest sign is to watch for growing monthly bills. As individual components become worn out, the heat pump will work harder to produce, which means it will use more energy. If your monthly bills are going up even though you’re not using the heat pump any more than normal, it’s probably time to call in a repairman.

You can also pay attention to the way the heat pump is functioning and if it appears to be laboring at all. For example, the air it produces may not be as cool or warm as you need it to be, or the air may not be moving through your home as well as it should. These usually speak for a faulty component within the heat pump itself, or perhaps a refrigerant leak somewhere in the system. (In many cases, you can spot a refrigerant leak by the presence of frost on the evaporator coils.)

Whatever the issue, it doesn’t pay to hesitate. The moment you spot signs of wear and tear on your heat pump in Atlanta, shut it off and call in a service professional. He or she can pinpoint the specific source of the problem and get it fixed for you. He or she can also set up a regular maintenance schedule to help keep your heat pump functioning like it should.  Give Air Conditioning Experts a call today to set up an appointment!

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