What is a Heat Pump?
A heat pump uses electricity to cool your home during hot weather, and the refrigerant flow can be reversed to heat your home during cool weather. For this reason, many homeowners do not need separate heating and cooling systems. But because of the extreme winter weather in the New England area, a supplemental heat source may be necessary. Because heat pumps do not burn fossil fuels, they are friendlier to the environment than most other HVAC options on the market.
Most people have heard of energy-efficient heat pumps, but not many people know much about them. A heat pump works a lot like a refrigerator. They both use refrigerants to control the temperature in an area. For refrigerators, this means pulling the warm air from inside it to radiating it away through the coils in the back of it, which lowers the fridge’s temperature.
How Heat Pumps Work
Heat pumps work similar to refrigerators, but handle a lot more power and refrigerant to cool or heat a home or business. Where a fridge uses passive heat exchange using the coils in the back of it, a heat pump uses pumps and/or fans to compress the refrigerant—thus making it hotter. This allows it to release pressure where the heat is being absorbed, causing it to heat one area while cooling another.
Types of Heat Pumps
There are several types of heat pumps. The most common ones are air-source heat pumps (seen most often in homes and small buildings) and ground-source heat pumps—AKA geothermal heat pumps.
Where air-source heat pumps transfer heat between indoor and outdoor air, geothermal heat pumps transfer heat from the indoor air to the ground outside. Ground source heat pumps cost more to install, but have a lower operating cost because the ground temperature stays consistent throughout the year.
Another common type of air-source heat pumps is ductless, mini-split heat pumps that are used in places where ductwork is not available or practical. You probably have already seen ductless mini-splits in action in hotel rooms.
Heat Pump Components
A simple heat pump consists of five major parts
- Condenser–The condenser is inside the room and produces the heating effect of the heat pump.
- Thermal Expansion Valve–This part of a heat pump makes air cooling possible. It suddenly reduces the pressure on the refrigerant and thus the temperature of it.
- Evaporator–This part of the pump exists just outside of the room. This coil’s temperature is very low (lower than the outside temperature), so the heat pump absorbs heat from the outside air.
- Compressor–The compressor compresses the refrigerant to an extremely high pressure which also increases its temperature.
- Reversing Valve–Changes the refrigerant’s direction in the system to change the function from heating the indoors to cooling and vice versa.
Would You Like to Know More About Highly Efficient Heat Pumps?
Then contact us here at Muirfield Mechanical. We are Eastern Massachusetts’ premier heat pump installation and repair specialists since 1963. We install and maintain heat pump systems for Westford, Ayer, Sudbury, Marlborough, Hudson, Stow, Groton, Concord, Littleton, Bolton, Acton, Arlington, Lexington, Belmont, Cambridge, Newton, and the surrounding cities and areas around Eastern Massachusetts and the Greater Boston area. Give us a call at (978) 296-5251, fill out our simple contact form, or send an email to email@example.com to get a free, no-obligation estimate on a new energy-efficient heat pump installation for your home or office.