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What Is the Reversing Valve and Why Does It Matter?

May 25, 2015

Heat pumps in cooling mode essentially work like a whole home air conditioning system: they remove heat and humidity from your living spaces and return cool air in its place. However, heat pumps have a key component that makes them very different from air conditioners: the reversing valve. Without this valve, your heat pump wouldn't be able to cool or heat your home. So what is this valve? Let's take a look.

The Reversing Valve

Heat pumps work by transferring heat from one location to another. In the summer months, they transfer the heat from inside your home to the outside, and during the winter, they absorb the heat from the outdoors and transfer it inside. The reason you can do this with a heat pump and not a regular air conditioning system is the reversing valve. This valve physically changes the direction in which the refrigerant flows, and this is how the unit changes modes from heating to cooling and back again. The manufacturer of the heat pump designates which direction means heating or cooling. As the homeowner, all you have to do to change modes is to hit a button on your thermostat. However, problems can arise with the reversing valve.

A "Stuck" Valve

One of the most common problems that can develop with a reversing valve is that it can get stuck in a position. This position can be in a mode or in-between modes. In either case, the valve won't move. There can be a few reasons for a stuck valve, including issues with the electrical component (the solenoid) or a refrigerant leak. A stuck valve requires expert help, and depending on the cause of immobility, you may have to replace the valve.

Any problems with your heat pump Sacramento, CA, should always be handled by trained experts, like the ones at Bronco Plumbing Heating and Air. Call us today, and let us get your heat pump back up and running !