There are many types of heat pumps, but they all operate on the same
basic principle: heat transfer. This means that instead of burning fuel to
generate heat, the device transfers heat from one place to another.
Heat pumps or heat transfer units work similarly to traditional air
conditioning (HVAC) heating ventilation and air conditioning units. A heat pump
moves heated air from one location to another, hence the name, but don't let
the name fool you, a "heat pump" heats and cools air. It works by
drawing air from a low temperature area and pumping it from the ground or air
into a high temperature area, heating a house or building with a relatively
small amount of heat through a fan system and heating and cooling coils. Energy
compared to HVAC systems.
Introduction to Heat Pumps
To understand the differences between the various heat pumps, it is
helpful to be familiar with the types of systems available.
1. Air source heat pump
An air source heat pump, or air-to-air heat pump, circulates heat from
outside the home and pumps it through refrigerant-filled coils into the air
ducts of the home through a fan/refrigerant system inside the box unit.
3. Ground source heat pump
Ground source heat pumps take heat from above-ground or groundwater
sources and pump it into the home, and vice versa, to heat and cool buildings.
This works by absorbing water-filled heat from pipes buried deep in the ground.
Liquid pumping tubes, as they say, can be a closed or open loop system that
delivers this warmth or coolness into the home.
By using a hot water source or
space heater to heat and cool the home, the smaller size mini-split heat pump
works well in homes that don't have air ducts.
Reverse Cycle Chiller Heat Pump
A reverse cycle chiller heat pump uses a reverse valve in the system
that acts as a directional circulator, "reversing" the existing heat
in your home, sending warm air outside, allowing the heat to escape while
cooling the interior. Reverse cycle coolers are connected to an insulated tank
and distribute heat or cool air through a fan and coil system that pumps heat
through ducts or radiant floor equipment. RCCs are often the first choice for
floor heating installations and work well in cold weather conditions. Compared
to air source heat pumps, RCCs do not require a backup burner to defrost the
coils because the system uses hot water to defrost the coils, permanently
heating the air without blowing cold air.
Since many heat pump varieties function in different ways, the ability
to efficiently heat and cool with minimal environmental impact is likely to be
within an owner's budget, while also offering unique advantages based on
specific needs as an alternative to traditional HVAC units.