Many people around Winter Park, FL, love having only one system to run throughout the year. The reversing valve is the one little component that allows a heat pump to function for both heating and cooling. Discover what the reversing valve does, how it works, and why it gets stuck.

The Role of a Reversing Valve

What determines whether your heat pump functions in heating or cooling mode is whether the refrigerant experiences high pressure. The high pressure is where the refrigerant gets hot and transfers the heat it absorbs from the low-pressure area.

The reversing valve determines where the compressed refrigerant flows from the compressor. The valve is actually a slide that changes which tubes align.

How a Heat Pump Reversing Valve Works

The reversing valve’s default setting sends the compressed refrigerant into your home, which is the heating mode. To change to cooling mode, your thermostat sends a signal to activate the valve’s solenoid.

The solenoid creates pressure on one side of the slide to change how the tube aligns. An energized solenoid delivers the pressurized refrigerant to the outside coils to activate the cooling mode.

Why It Gets Stuck

Reversing valves can get stuck, causing your system to remain in one mode. Two of the most common problems that cause this include a connection problem to the thermostat and a bad solenoid.

If the connection to the thermostat gets interrupted, the reversing valve will typically stay in the heating position. A faulty solenoid could lock the valve in either position and prevent it from changing. The best way to prevent this is scheduling heat pump maintenance. A technician will be able to evaluate your entire system for problems.

Signs of a Stuck Reversing Valve

You may find that your heat pump only produces hot or cold air, regardless of the set mode. This is the most obvious sign of a stuck reversing valve. Before calling an HVAC service tech, double-check your thermostat’s batteries and ensure the air filter is clean. Above all, do not attempt to repair a stuck reversing valve on your own. Doing so can release refrigerant into the air, causing immediate harm to you and your family.

Don’t get stuck with a malfunctioning reversing valve. Call to schedule your heat pump service with the expert service technicians at ACR Air Conditioning & Refrigeration.

Image provided by iStock

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