Heat pumps are becoming more common in our area for a few reasons. First, they’re efficient, and second, they can be used as both air conditioners and heaters. If you get one installed at your place in San Antonio, you’ll be able to use it every month of the year, if necessary. Heat pumps can do such a great job at keeping homes comfortable because they rely on a substance called refrigerant.

What Exactly Is Refrigerant?

Refrigerant is a substance that can be found in various forms. In appliances, such as refrigerators, air conditioners, and heat pumps, it can be either in a gas or a liquid form. As it transitions between those two states of matter, it can absorb or give off heat. Over a hundred years ago, scientists and engineers first figured out how to use refrigerant to cool areas. It took awhile for this idea to become a practical one, and obviously, the industry has come a long way since the early days. Now, we can use refrigerant safely and effectively.

The Heating Process

There are two basic types of heat pumps, and they are air-source pumps and ground-source pumps. Air-source heat pumps get their heat from the exterior air, and ground-source heat pumps get their heat from the ground. No matter where the heat comes from, the basic concepts are the same. When the refrigerant is outside the home, it’s a cold liquid. It travels through the exterior piping system, and as it does, it absorbs heat from the environment. It takes that heat and transitions into a gas as it travels back to the inside of your home. A quick process results in the gas refrigerant releasing its heat and converting back into a liquid, ready to head outside once again.

The temperature under the ground, once you dig at least a few feet deep, is typically somewhere between 50 and 60 degrees. The temperature of the exterior air during the winter can obviously be cooler than that. Even if it is freezing outside, though, the refrigerant would be able to pick up heat from its surroundings. It can absorb heat as long as it’s cooler than its surroundings. It doesn’t matter if it’s 32 degrees outside or 55 degrees because the refrigerant will be cooler than that.

The Cooling Process

The cooling process works in a similar manner, but the process is reversed. In the hot summer, the refrigerant would be used to transfer heat from your home to the exterior environment. The refrigerant is liquid as it comes into the home. When it’s inside where it’s relatively warm, it absorbs heat. It’s sent outside in the form of gas, confined within the piping system. When it travels outside, it can give off heat and convert back to a liquid, and again, the process would continue. There just needs to be a temperature difference in order for the heat to be absorbed in the home. Even if you like to keep it very chilly in your place over the summer, your heat pump should be able to meet the demand.

No Refills Needed

One of the great things about using refrigerant is that it doesn’t really degrade. Since the heat pump is a closed system, the refrigerant can continue doing its job effectively for years. This is a major reason why it’s so commonly used in households across the nation. There’s no need to be concerned about safety, and there’s no need to get more refrigerant. You can expect it to last as long as your heat pump lasts, which can be well over a decade in some cases.

A Community Resource

At MD Air Conditioning & Heating, we hold our customers in high regard and hold ourselves to high standards. We’re dedicated to what we do, and we’d be happy to assist anyone in San Antonio, TX, with a heat pump installation. In addition, we can maintain or repair a heat pump, and we can do the same for other types of heaters and air conditioners. Plus, we offer services that can improve indoor air quality. In the case of an emergency, we can be available on the weekends and in the evenings, as we know that issues can arise at any moment. Please give us a call if you have any questions about heat pumps or would like to schedule an appointment.