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How do heat pumps work?
Coolbuild 114

How do heat pumps work?

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Reverse-cycle air-conditioners or heat pumps as they are commonly known, provide easy heating and cooling for your home or workplace.

 

Suited to maintaining the comfortable temperature you chose in a segregated space, your heat pump works for you summer and winter.

 

As an air-conditioner, the indoor unit, mounted on the wall, floor or in the ceiling, extracts heat from the air inside using heat transfer into the refrigerant circulating inside.  The air coming out of the vents is cool because the heat has been removed.  The refrigerant transports the heat to the outdoor unit where the heat is released to the outside.  The cool refrigerant then circulates back inside to absorb more heat. In the diagram below you will see that the indoor heat exchanger is named the evaporator and the outdoor, the condenser.

 

Diagram of the cooling cycle of an air conditioning unit showing the four stages of heat exchange; evaporator, Compressor, Condenser, and return.

 

Diagram of the cooling cycle of an air conditioning unit showing the four stages of heat exchange; evaporator, Compressor, Condenser, and return.

 

This function also filters and dehumidifies air. 

 

When heating function is selected, the process becomes reversed, hence the name – reverse-cycle heat pump. Our diagram shows how the indoor unit is now the condenser and visa versa.

 

Diagram of the heating cycle of a heat pump unit showing the four stages of heat exchange; evaporator, Compressor, Condenser, and return.

 

So, the outdoor unit acts in place of the indoor unit above and collects warmth from the outside air and transports it inside in the refrigerant.  The refrigerant releases its warmth into the room from the head unit, in turn warming the air as it comes out of the vents. 

 

This function also filters the air but there is no dehumidification. 

 

 In both cases, the air is recirculated from within the room and outside air is not introduced into the room which is a common misconception. In some cases, therefore such as in older homes, a separate home ventilation system may be recommended. 

 

A heat pump is an excellent method to keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer purely by moving heat from one place to another.

 

 

 

 

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