Heat Pump Repair Basics: The Reversing Valve

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Heat pumps work very similarly to air conditioners except for one key way: they can also heat your home. How do they do this? With the help of a component called a reversing valve. The valve itself is fairly complex, but the result for you, as the homeowner, is that you have a system that can easily switch between heating and cooling. However, heat pumps run year-round, making them a little more prone to needing repair than other more seasonal systems. If you are need of quality heat pump repair service in Daytona Beach, call the people you can count on: AC Designs Inc.

How Does the Reversing Valve Work?

The reversing valve is a somewhat delicate component that has a pipe on the bottom and three on the top. The job of the reversing valve is to change the direction of the flow of refrigerant in your system; this is how the heat pump changes modes between heating and cooling. The valve has two settings within it: one is excited, the other is relaxed. The valve manufacturer sets which state stands for heating and which stands for cooling, so there can be variations between valves. What doesn’t change is that once a state is set for a specific mode – either heating or cooling – it stays that way for the life of the pump.

So how does the pump change modes? As the homeowner, you press a button on your dual-mode thermostat. This cues the heat pump’s solenoid, which is a low-voltage electrical component, to slide the valve in the opposite direction. As the valve slides, the refrigerant also helps the valve to change states between relaxed and excited, or vice versa. Once the valve has slid into the correct position, the mode has changed.

When the Valve Is Stuck

One of the most common problems that can develop with a reversing valve is that is can get stuck. It may become stuck in a specific mode or in between modes. If the valve is stuck due to a bad solenoid, the solenoid can be replaced; but should there be another problem causing the valve to stick, such as leaking refrigerant, the valve will need to be replaced.

Reversing valve repairs should only be handled by trained professionals. The valves can be complex, but more importantly, they operate with refrigerant, and you must be certified to handle refrigerant. The trained technicians at AC Designs Inc. can handle all types of heat pump repairs in Daytona Beach, so don’t hesitate to give us a call if you need help with your heat pump system.