How Do Heat Pumps Work?

When you think of ways to cool your home, what comes to mind? An air conditioner is probably the first thing you think of, or possible window fans or swamp coolers. While these are all acceptable answers, there’s another option you’ve probably never considered: heat pumps. Despite sounding like something you’d only need to use in the winter, a heat pump can actually cool down a home as easily as it can warm it up. If you’re shopping for a new HVAC system, contact a heating and cooling company in Nashville to learn if a heat pump is right for you. In the meantime, read this brief article to find out how these ingenious devices work.

Heat Transfer

All heat pumps operate on the same basic principle of heat transfer. In essence, this means that rather than burning fuel to create heat, the device moves heat from one place to another. While heat tends to move from a location with a high temperature to a location with a lower temperature, a heat pump uses a small amount of energy to reverse the process in order to pull heat out of a relatively low-temperature area and pump it into a higher temperature area.

Air-Source Heat Pumps

As previously mentioned, there are many different kinds of heat pumps. One of the most common types of heat pumps is the air-source heat pump. Thanks to the principle of heat transfer, air-source heat pumps take heat from the air outside your home and pump it inside through refrigerant-filled coils and blown away from the coils by a set of fans that cool down your home.

Absorption Heat Pump

Another common type of heat pump is the absorption heat pump. The main difference between air-course and absorption heat pumps is that instead of compressing a refrigerant, absorption pumps absorbs ammonia into water before being pressurized and boiled out again by the heat source. Absorption heat pumps are rated using a measurement called a coefficient of performance (COP). Your Nashville HVAC contractor can tell you more about these and other types of heat pumps for your home.