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Everything to Know About the Reversing Valve

One single component is what sets a heat pump apart from other HVAC options, and that is the reversing valve. It allows your heat pump to alternate effortlessly between heating and cooling without the need for two separate units.

But if your mini split is not working in heat mode, you may be wondering what to do about it. You can keep reading to learn more about the reversing valve, how it works, and some troubleshooting tips in case it stops working. Then give our team a call to service your heat pump if you’re experiencing problems.

What Is a Reversing Valve?

In both air conditioners and heat pumps, refrigerant works one way for cooling. The refrigerant cycles through the indoor coil to cool the air and absorb heat to release it outside. This is a crucial part of the cooling process because if heat gets trapped inside your home it makes cooling the air more difficult. 

And heat isn’t the only thing being transferred by this process. Some humidity also gets removed from the air as a method of cooling. This is because higher humidity levels can make your home feel warmer even when the temperature is low. Removing moisture from the air helps to make your home feel cooler without lowering the temperature on your thermostat.

The reversing valve on a heat pump also allows refrigerant to work in reverse by absorbing heat from the outside and bringing it into your home in the winter. Even when temperatures are very cold outside, there is still some heat in the air that refrigerant can absorb. When the reversing valve switches over to heat, refrigerant cycles in the opposite way as it does during the summer and transfers heat into your home. This is a more efficient and safe method of heating since there is no combustion necessary. 

How a Reversing Valve Works

Although it is called a reversing valve, the component is actually a sliding cylinder that moves to block or allow refrigerant flow, depending on whether you want heating or cooling. When you change your thermostat from heating to cooling or vice versa, the sliding mechanism moves back and forth to allow refrigerant to either heat or cool your home. There are additional components involved in helping to reverse the flow of refrigerant, but this is a simplified explanation. 

Potential Problems

If the reversing valve doesn’t move back and forth as it should, your heat pump may get stuck in heating or cooling mode. When this happens, our team needs to visit your home for a repair appointment. Sometimes it’s possible that we can clean the reversing valve and get it working again. Other times we need to replace it completely – which isn’t usually a very expensive project to complete. 

It’s also possible that your thermostat is malfunctioning if your heat pump has problems. If your heat pump cannot switch modes then your thermostat may need troubleshooting. Our team can clean it out, change the batteries and try to reset it. If these steps fail, we may need to completely replace your thermostat.

Your comfort is our business! Comfort Flow Heating serves all of Oregon, so contact our team today to schedule your appointment.

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