Education

Published on July 31st, 2021 | by Ali Dino

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How Do Heat Pumps Work?

If you have ever had to figure out a way to heat or cool your home, or you simply wondered about how these systems work, you have probably heard of heat pumps. The most common appliance you might be able to find in your home that has a heat pump is an air conditioner. This system can be used both for heating and cooling.

But you probably already knew this. The real question is – how does this system work? Which components does it have? Where can it be used? And why is it becoming increasingly popular? We will answer all these questions and more.

What is a Heat Pump?

Let’s start at the beginning – what does a heat pump actually look like?

A common heat pump usually consists of two main parts. As we have already mentioned, an air conditioner is the best example. It has an indoor and an outdoor unit, along with other inside components. However, depending on the function and purpose of a heat pump, there are many different types. 

For example, there are heat pumps that work by using natural fluids. Star Renewable Energy calls these ‘Neatpumps’ and they are much stronger than a common heat pump. They are used for larger units and appliances and are considered to be very efficient heating and cooling systems. 

How Do they Function?

The concept of the heat pump is simple: they move hot air from one place to another, using electricity along with refrigeration technology. Most commonly, your heat pump will take the hot air from the outside unit, put it through the refrigeration process, and the cool air will enter your room.

The temperature is controlled by a thermostat, and because of that, you’ll be able to control the temperature in your room. However, the heating and cooling units are sometimes separate, so you can only achieve one or the other. 

Where Can it Be Used?

Heat pumps can be found both in common households and in large industries. The purpose varies depending on the type and the capacity of a heat pump. For residential purposes, the pumps of smaller capacities are usually used. Additionally, some types of pumps use refrigerants like glycol, so they are used in multiple different appliances. 

Some of the stronger pumps can provide district heating even in large towns. The heating in industrial complexes and public services, like hospitals or universities, can also be covered by them. 

Some people are put off by heat pumps because they hear that they can stop working if it’s cold outside. While this is true, it would require the temperature to be extreme for the heat pump to stop working. Most houses and businesses would also have a backup solution in case of failure or simply because they are using a system where heat pumps are only part of the cooling or heating systems.

Efficiency and Money-Saving

If you have a problem with efficiency and the cost of your gas heaters, switching up to a heat pump would probably solve it. This is because all the heat pump needs to work is electricity. Even though your electricity bill may be a bit higher, your heating bill will be significantly lower.

However, before deciding on the type and the model, you need to carefully consider your needs, your budget, and the type of home or business you have. 

Sustainability

Using a heating pump is commonly known as one of the most sustainable heating systems. 

Unlike fossil fuel using heaters, with a heating pump, your carbon footprint will be next to none. Additionally, heat pumps can be used in combination with solar panels. This is one of the reasons this system has reached its popularity in the age of eco-friendly movements. 

When used in conjunction with solar panels, the heat pump will simply use the electricity produced by the panels to function, meaning you are using a renewable energy source AND saving money.

The way that the heat pumps work allows for sustainability and cost reduction. Additionally, they are easy to maintain and are usually very durable. Their reverse-refrigeration process also allows for high efficiency. With the constant development and innovations in this field, heat pumps will almost surely become one of the most used systems there is. 

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