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Refrigerant charge management in a heat pump water heater

United States Patent

June 24, 2014
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Heat pumps that heat or cool a space and that also heat water, refrigerant management systems for such heat pumps, methods of managing refrigerant charge, and methods for heating and cooling a space and heating water. Various embodiments deliver refrigerant gas to a heat exchanger that is not needed for transferring heat, drive liquid refrigerant out of that heat exchanger, isolate that heat exchanger against additional refrigerant flowing into it, and operate the heat pump while the heat exchanger is isolated. The heat exchanger can be isolated by closing an electronic expansion valve, actuating a refrigerant management valve, or both. Refrigerant charge can be controlled or adjusted by controlling how much liquid refrigerant is driven from the heat exchanger, by letting refrigerant back into the heat exchanger, or both. Heat pumps can be operated in different modes of operation, and segments of refrigerant conduit can be interconnected with various components.
Chen; Jie (St. Charles, MO), Hampton; Justin W. (Bonne Terre, MO)
Nordyne LLC (O'Fallon, MO)
13/ 548,091
July 12, 2012
LICENSE RIGHTS This invention was made under CRADA NFE-11-03561 between Nordyne and UT-Battelle, LLC, operating and management Contractor for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the United States Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in this invention.