What is a Heat Pump?  

by Pool Builders on 10-12-2009 in Articles

You may have never noticed, but heat pumps are part of your daily life. You may not always recognise a heat pump when you see one, but even as we speak, there is one humming away quietly in the kitchen doing its job without asking questions. Your refrigerator.

A heat pump is a mechanical device to move heat energy from one location to another. In the case of your refrigerator, heat energy is taken away from the items inside, and transferred into the air in your kitchen via the heat exchanger plate on the back.

Heat pumps are also used to heat swimming pools, chill the water from the water bottle dispenser in your office, and as air conditioners to heat and cool the air for your comfort. Another modern use for heat pumps is for heating the hot water for your home.

Heat Pump Air Conditioners

A heat pump air conditioner works in the very same way that your refrigerator keeps food cold. It transfers heat from one location to another to either heat or cool the air in your room as necessary.

To cool your room in summer, heat is extracted from the air and transferred to the air outdoors. This has the net effect of cooling the indoor air making it much more bearable.

To heat your room in winter, heat is extracted from the air outside and is transferred to the air indoors. An air conditioning can switch from one mode to another by simply reversing the flow of refrigerant through the system.

For heating purposes, a heat pump is a very economical way to heat your home. Compared to an electric heater, a heat pump will output up to 400% more heat for the same amount of electricity used.

This is made possible as the heat pump is simply transferring 'free' or latent heat from outside into your home. Transferring heat energy uses up much less power than converting electricity directly into heat energy.

Hot Water Heat Pump

A hot water heat pump works exactly the same as any other heat pump. The way in which they are unique is that the heat is transferred into the water in your hot water cylinder via a hydronic heat exchanger.

Some hot water heat pump systems are capable of delivering a constant supply of heated water at up to half the running cost of a gas heater, and don't produce any exhaust gases.

Swimming Pool Heat Pumps

A swimming pool heat pump is essentially just a giant hot water heat pump. By extracting heat from the air outside and transferring it into your swimming pool water, you can have toasty warm water all year around.

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