Heat Pumps Made Simple

Heat Pumps are being used extensively to heat buildings and swimming pools in a low cost way. A heat pump in essence behaves like AC but in reverse. Rather than cooling down your house and getting rid of excess heat via a radiator and fan unit outside, a heat pump will cool down the outside air and pump that heat directly into your house/pool. The laws of energy conservation mean that you end up with more energy than you pay for because heat energy is transferred from the ground or air) into your house together with the energy you use to operate the system in the first place.

This means that if you compare the unit cost of energy produced by a heat pump with the unit cost of heat provided by an electric heater, you can usually get improvements of 250% or more. For space heating then, heat pumps thus offer a highly cost effective solution which means that your overall energy costs can be reduced with much of the heat you use actually being provided by the ground or by the outside air.

There are 2 main types of heat pump: ground source heat pumps which extract warmth from the ground via an array of underground pipes, and ASHP or air source heat pumps which extract heat from air that is fanned over a heat exchanger with a low noise. ASHP pumps are usually easy to install and nowadays are quite quiet}. They operate even down to sub-zero temperatures.

Ground source heat pumps rely on a series of underground pipes which contain a pumped working fluid that enters the pipe cold, having given up its heat to your home, and then warms up to the ground temperature as it flows through the system. Once warm again it enters the heat pump and gives off its heat again to repeat the cycle.

Ground source heat pumps are less easy to install than air source heat pumps but have the advantage of operating at slightly higher efficiencies during very cold weather. The underground pipe network can be laid vertically via a deep bore hole or horizontally and essentially extract goe thermal heat from the ground. This energy is always present at a low level but when combined with efficient heat pump technology it can be extracted and used to heat houses or pools very efficiently.

When selecting a heat pump you also need to select a good quality heat pump installer and it pays to use a firm that is professional qualified.