Wed. Oct 4th, 2023
    Understanding Heat Pumps: How They Work and the Different Types

    Heat pumps have been growing in popularity due to their ability to provide clean and efficient heating and cooling. By transferring heat from one place to another, heat pumps eliminate the need for fossil fuels and outperform traditional heating options. To promote the adoption of heat pumps, the federal government and various utility programs offer significant incentives.

    A heat pump operates by circulating refrigerant to deliver comfort. In the winter, the refrigerant absorbs heat from the outside and boils into a gas. A compressor then increases the temperature of the gas, and it flows through a coil. A fan blows over the coil, pushing warmed air into a building. The refrigerant cools down, turns into a liquid, and the process repeats. In the summer, the process is reversed as the heat pump collects heat from indoors and releases it outdoors.

    There are different types of heat pumps based on their thermal-energy source. Air-source heat pumps absorb heat from the ambient air, while water-source heat pumps extract thermal energy from bodies of water. Ground-source or geothermal heat pumps draw heat from the ground or groundwater. Geothermal heat pumps are more energy-efficient than air-source heat pumps, but they come with a higher upfront cost. However, their operating costs over their lifetime can be as low as one-third of air-source heat pumps due to the relatively constant underground temperatures.

    In conclusion, heat pumps offer a clean and efficient solution for heating and cooling. Understanding the different types and how they work can help individuals make informed decisions about adopting this technology.

    Sources: Canary Media, Lunar Energy, TRC Companies, Building Decarbonization Coalition, Department of Energy.