For many people, the change of season is comfortably predictable and means that they can change pace to look forward to other activities with their family. It also means that they may have to perform various chores around the house, especially when the temperature starts to move in one direction or the other and it may be time to switch from heating to cooling or vice versa. Many homes are equipped with a heat pump, as this is environmentally friendly and efficient. However, sometimes a problem can materialise with this unit when you want to change it over, and if you're encountering such an issue right now, could it be something to do with your reversing valve?
For your heat pump to act like a chameleon, the refrigerant within has to be directed from one unit to another so that it can change its role and keep you comfortable. For example, the outdoor unit has to draw refrigerant in if you need to generate heat, while the indoor unit needs to do most of the work at the opposite end of the calendar if everything is to work as planned. The reversing valve is critical in enabling this switchover so refrigerant can move in the appropriate direction.
How Does This Work?
This is a fairly simple valve with four different channels and is located somewhere in between the outdoor and indoor unit, where all the lines intersect. Within the unit is a solenoid that is attached to a slide mechanism, with an electromagnetic coil that helps to activate the slide and move it from one position to another as a current is applied.
What Can Go Wrong?
You may think that this is straightforward, and it will normally be reliable, but a problem can arise if the solenoid overheats. It can be vulnerable to too much change and adverse weather conditions and it may lose its magnetism. If the solenoid is okay, the slide itself may be ineffective, as debris can sometimes build up and inhibit its ability to slide from one place to another.
You may not get any notice of a problem until you first try to heat or cool your home. If you find that you are getting the opposite result, it means that the system is still stuck in the old position, and this is likely to do with that reversing valve. Call in a valve repair specialist, and they will be able to get this fixed without too much delay.