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For heat pumps to work, they depend on the cheapest fuel that can be found, the exterior air. The units are installed on the exterior of the building. They use the power of the outside air via vacuum and are able to use the existing heating system to distribute the heating that is produced by the heat pumps. The heat can also be distributed to the internal floor heating system as well as to the water heating system.

The heat pump is an appliance that is able to transfer heat from one body at a low temperature to another body at a high temperature. In order to achieve this, the heat pump consumes energy, electrical energy. With its use, a warm area can be made even warmer. For example, a home's heating during the winter or cooling during the summer, by pumping the heat and distributing it into the desired area. In order to heat up a room during the winter, the heat pump pumps heat from the outside environment into the desired area and to cool a room it pumps out the heat from the desired area into the outside environment.

Heat pumps are divided into sub-categories as dependent on the source from which they pump heat and where they distribute the heat. The most common heat pump types are:

  • air-to-water: they pump heat from the atmosphere and heat up water which is then distributed to heating system bodies.
  • air-to-air: they pump heat from the atmosphere and produce heat or cold air, as per an air conditions function.

There are heat pumps available that simply provide heating solutions and others that provide heating and cooling function. Other heat pumps types are able to pump heat from the ground – geothermic- or from underground waters.

Heat pumps don't actually produce heat, they just transfer it from one place to another. The energy it consumes in order to transfer the heat is much less than the actual heat being transferred. In that way, it is able to provide increased heat (heating energy) to your area from the electrical energy it consumes. Other systems simply transform electricity to heating, and as such they cannot ever produce greater energy than that which they consume meaning that that they can only achieve a maximum output of 100%. One heat pump can achieve an output of 400%+. In other words, in order to produce 5kW worth of heating, an electrical appliance will consume around 5kW of electrical energy. A heat pump can consume 1kW of electrical energy in order to achieve the same output. Therefore, it has COP 5.

Of course, things are not so simple because a heat pump's output is not always stable as it depends on the outside conditions and temperatures. Generally speaking, heat pumps function with a lesser productivity output in extreme weather conditions. As a result the output with an outside temperature of 25 degrees celsius can be 500% and the productive output with an outside temperature of 0 degrees celsius 400%.

The productive capacity of a heat pump (Coefficient of Performance) is shown as: COP = heating or coolness achieved/ electrical energy consumed to achieve it.

«Its operation basics»

Heat pumps (both air-to-air & air-to-water types) operate in a similar way to fridges, using a steam compression cycle. The heat pump is comprised of: a compressor, a relief valve and two heat alternators (an evaporator and a condenser). The outside air is pushed into the heat pump via a fan where it meets with the evaporator. This is connected to a closed system including a cooling agent that can be converted to a gas at very low temperatures. When the outside air hits the evaporator the cooling agent is converted to gas.

Following this, using a compressor, the gas reaches a high temperature that can then be transferred to your home's heating system compressor. Simultaneously, the cooling agent with the help of the compressor returns to its liquid state, ready to receive new heat.