School is back in session. Calm down. It’s not the school you’re thinking of. This is Part 5 of Home Heating 101, with simple lessons explaining how the heating system in your home works. The goal of the folks here at GAMA Air is to help our friends and neighbors in the Beverly Hills, Culver City, Mar Vista, Miracle Mile, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Bel Air, Westwood, Downtown Los Angeles, Vernon, Huntington Park, Sherman Oaks, Encino area to better understand what happens when their heating systems fires up. The more you know, the better you will take care of your central heating system, and the better you will be at controlling your utility costs where possible. Our last installment, Part 4, started the explanation of how a Heat Pump works. So pull up a chair, get comfortable, and continue with the class.
We were talking about the refrigerant that allows the indoor unit and the outdoor unit to work as a team. Between those two units are copper pipes, called a refrigerant line set, that allows refrigerant to circulate from one to the other and back again. Do you remember the key to understanding how a heat pump works? It moves heat from the outside of your home to the inside of your home. The refrigerant is the vehicle for moving the heat. The word Freon used to be synonymous with refrigerant, but Freon was a brand name for R-22, a type of refrigerant that has almost been completely phased out of the residential heating and cooling market because of environmental issues. Manufacturers have not been able to make heat pumps with R22 for a number of years now. If your heat pump is over 10 years old, it may use R22, but nearly all residential heat pumps these days use R410A refrigerant. Heat pumps that use R22 cannot simply be filled with R-410A, which some call Puron, because the components in the outdoor unit and the indoor unit are specific to a type of refrigerant.
When you think of the word “Refrigeration” you probably think of cold, right? So how does that cycle of refrigeration heat your home? Here’s a simple way of thinking about it. Do you ever remember standing outside by the outdoor unit on a warm summer day while your AC, or Heat Pump, is cranking away? How does the air that is blowing out of it feel? It is hot, right? There you go! Like we said earlier, a Heat Pump is an air conditioner that can work in reverse. So instead of blowing the hot air outside, it can blow hot air inside your home.
When the thermostat tells it to come on, then the compressor, which is like a pump and is the heart of your central heating and cooling system, pushes hot refrigerant into the ‘indoor unit’. The hot refrigerant heats up the indoor coil, which looks something like a car radiator. The fan in the indoor unit pulls air from your house through an air filter and then through the coil. The air is heated up by the hot coil and then blown throughout your house.
The refrigerant continues its circuit, leaving the coil of the indoor unit cooler then when it entered and goes out to where the compressor is. Then it is pushed through a tiny hole or orifice and comes out as a mist into another coil outside. That orifice creates a sudden drop in pressure and the refrigerant mist is very, very cold. This refrigerant cools down the outdoor coil making it very cold also. But the outdoor unit has a fan, too. What happens next?
Stay tuned for more details! But do you need help right away with your home’s heating or cooling system? Call GAMA Air at (323) 655-6126 or use our online form to schedule a visit at a time convenient to you for a service call. We have lots of satisfied customers in the Beverly Hills, Culver City, Mar Vista, Miracle Mile, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Bel Air, Westwood, Downtown Los Angeles, Vernon, Huntington Park, Sherman Oaks, Encino area and we want you to be one of them. We will guarantee your satisfaction 100%.
Want a quick answer to a question you have? Visit our “Ask an Expert” page and get a quick answer from our resident expert.