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Douglas Cooling & Heating Blog

Why Your Heat Pump Can’t Switch to Cooling Mode

Heat pumps are well-known for their ability to offer both heating and cooling functions. In fact, that’s a big part of the reason why most people get them installed in the first place. That’s all well and good, until it’s cooling season and your heat pump can’t seem to get off of the “heat” setting. If your heat pump doesn’t seem to be able to switch modes properly, read on to find out why.

The Reversing Valve

All heat pumps operate by using refrigerant to absorb heat from one location and release it in another. This is the same way that a standard air conditioner operates. The primary difference between the two of them is that heat pumps have a part called the reversing valve. The reversing valve allows them to reverse the flow of refrigerant through their systems, so that they can offer both heating and cooling functions.

The reversing valve is a 4-way valve that sits in the heat pump refrigerant line. An electromagnet called a solenoid is used to move the slide between one of two positions. Depending on what position the slide is in, the heat pump is in either heating or cooling mode. If the slide becomes stuck in the valve, the heat pump will be stuck in one mode. The valve will need to be opened, by a professional, and the valve unstuck in order to restore full function. It’s also possible for the solenoid to lose its charge, at which point it will have to be replaced before the heat pump can resume full function. If your heat pump is not switching to cooling mode, you should have a professional examine your reversing valve.

Douglas Cooling & Heating installs and services heat pumps throughout Mountain Brook, AL. If you need heat pump services of any kind, call today.

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