Heat Pumps Explained

Heat pumps operate in a way that might sound counter intuitive at first, but can be easily understood through a couple analogies.

What is a Heat Pump

A heat pump’s job is to take heat from one area and move it to another area. In this case, it’s going to be taking heat from a cold area and moving it to a warmer area. Now, I’m sure you’re asking, “How can you get heat from a cold area and move it to a warm area?” and that’s a very good question.

Every substance above absolute zero has heat energy in it that can be used. Using the refrigeration cycle, the heat pump is able to draw energy from cool, winter air, and move it to the inside of your house. Even that cold, brisk, winter air is going to be considerably warmer than the refrigerant in part of the heat pumps lines. Just like in your refrigerator where the coils on the inside pull heat from that cold air and move it to the coils at the back of the unit to be released into the atmosphere, the heat pump does the same.

At the beginning of the cycle, refrigerant enters the evaporator coil where its pressure and temperature drop, greatly reducing its temperature. The refrigerant is warmed by the air around the coil and from there it travels to the compressor.

In the compressor the warmed refrigerant is compressed and heated further and then travels down the lines to the condenser coil. The coil will absorb the heat from the refrigerant and via air being blown over the coil will put that heat into the house.

Can a Heat Pump Save You Money?

Heat pumps a are very efficient means of heating your home. Depending on the type of system, efficiencies can be extremely high with these. They will be far more efficient than any sort of electric-resistance heating system and can even be less expensive to operate than gas. However, they function best in climates with winters on the mild side.

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