What is Heat Pump?

A heat pump is a device that transfers heat energy from a heat source to a heat sink against a temperature gradient. Heat pumps are designed to move thermal energy opposite the direction of spontaneous heat flow. A heat pump uses some amount of external high-grade energy to accomplish the desired transfer of thermal energy from heat source to heat sink.

Applications of Heat Pump

In HVAC applications,China heat pump is typically a vapor-compression refrigeration device that includes a reversing valve and optimized heat exchangers so that the direction of heat flow (thermal energy movement) may be reversed. The reversing valve switches the direction of refrigerant through the cycle and therefore the heat pump may deliver either heating or cooling to a building. In cooler climates, the default setting of the reversing valve is heating. The default setting in warmer climates is cooling. Because the two heat exchangers, the condenser and evaporator, must swap functions, they are optimized to perform adequately in both modes. As such, the efficiency of a reversible heat pump is typically slightly less than two separately optimized machines. In plumbing applications, a heat pump is sometimes used to heat or preheat water for swimming pools or domestic water heaters; the heat energy removed from an air-conditioned space may be recovered for water heating.

Types of Heat Pump

The two main types of domestic heat pump are compression and absorption. Compression heat pumps operate on mechanical energy (typically driven by electricity), while absorption heat pumps may also run on heat as an energy source (from electricity or burnable fuels). An absorption heat pump may be fueled by natural gas or LP gas, for example. While the Gas Utilization Efficiency in such a device, which is the ratio of the energy supplied to the energy consumed, may average only 1.5; that is better than a natural gas or LP gas furnace, which can only approach 1. Although an absorption heat pump may not be as efficient as an electric compression heat pump, an absorption heat pump fueled by natural gas may be advantageous in locations where electricity is relatively expensive and natural gas is relatively inexpensive. A natural gas-fired absorption heat pump might also avoid the cost of an electrical service upgrade which is sometimes necessary for an electric heat pump installation. In the case of air-to-air heat pumps, an absorption heat pump might also have an advantage in colder regions, due to a lower minimum operating temperature.

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