The Parts Of Your Heat Pump And Their Role In Operation

heat pump partsNew Heat Pump Technology Makes This a Popular Choice

Heat pumps are an extremely efficient option for home heating and cooling. These devices operate on a principle similar to that of a refrigerator, but on a much larger scale. They get their name from the main characteristic of how they function: They pump heat from one place to another, moving it out of your house in the summer and bringing it inside in the winter. They use no combustible fuel, producing up to four times more energy than they consume. They are quiet, efficient, and economical.

Heat pumps contain five major components:

  • The compressor
  • The condenser
  • The evaporator
  • The air handler
  • The reversing valve

How heat pumps works

The compressor sends a refrigerant through two sets of copper coils, one inside your house and the other outside. The refrigerant absorbs and releases heat during changes in state from liquid to gas. The condenser pressurizes the refrigerant when needed during this process.


When heating, the outside coils serve as the evaporator and the inside coils as the condenser. In the evaporator, the refrigerant vaporizes into a gas. As it changes, it extracts heat from the outdoor air. The compressor sends the gaseous refrigerant through an expansion valve to the condenser coils inside. The refrigerant is pressurized and returns to its liquid state, releasing the heat it absorbed and warming the air around the coils. The air handler, a powerful fan, distributes the warm air throughout your home.


The reversing valve switches the direction of refrigerant flow and the roles of the inside and outside coils to provide cooling. The gaseous refrigerant in the indoor unit’s evaporator coils removes heat from inside your home, then releases it through the outside condenser coils, as the refrigerant condenses back into liquid.

Since 1934, T. F. O’Brien Cooling & Heating has provided top-quality HVAC sales, equipment, and service to customers all around Long Island. Contact us today for more information on heat pumps and their many benefits, to get an estimate on a heat-pump system or to schedule an installation.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).   For more information about other HVAC topics,  download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Heat pump image via Shutterstock.