Heat pumps that heat or cool a space and that also heat water, refrigerant management systems for such heat pumps, and methods of managing refrigerant charge. Various embodiments remove idle refrigerant from a heat exchanger that is not needed for transferring heat by opening a refrigerant recovery valve and delivering the idle refrigerant from the heat exchanger to an inlet port on the compressor. The heat exchanger can be isolated by closing an electronic expansion valve, actuating a refrigerant management valve, or both. Refrigerant charge can be controlled by controlling how much refrigerant is drawn from the heat exchanger, by letting some refrigerant back into the heat exchanger, or both. Heat pumps can be operated in different modes of operation, and various components can be interconnected with refrigerant conduit. Some embodiments deliver refrigerant gas to the heat exchanger and drive liquid refrigerant out prior to isolating the heat exchanger.
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.