How do heat pumps work?
A reliable and efficient way of generating heat for your home, ground source heat pumps and air source heat pumps work by moving heat from one source to another. That heat is derived from a natural source – the ground, the air or the water – and once the available heat has been extracted from its source it is then released in another location at a higher temperature.
Heat pumps use a refrigeration cycle which consists of two principle heat exchangers; one that absorbs heat (the source), and the other that rejects it (the destination).
The absorbed heat is transported through a system via pipes, which contain water and a cooling fluid similar to antifreeze. As the water is directed into a building it is turned into gas by a heat exchanger. How the heat is released into the property depends on the system e.g. underfloor heating. The gas in the pipes is thus cooled into a liquid and continues back on its cycle to the original source where it is once again used to absorb heat.
A heat pump system can be broken down into three parts:
1) Ground loop – This is the network of pipes filled with water to absorb heat from a source such as the earth.
2) Heat pump – A device which physically moves the water around a loop.
3) Heat distribution system – This is used to extract the heat and then releases it into a building such as a house.
You’re probably more familiar with the technology than you realise. Heat pumps don’t just provide heat as their name suggests; these devices can also be used to cool an area, as well as heat it. Common household appliances like freezers, refrigerators and air conditioning units all use a heat pump system.