You might have seen an air source heat pump before or even have one in your home, but do you know how these systems work?
An air source heat pump is a heating and cooling unit which uses the air around your house as a heat sink or heat source. Basically, the heat pump absorbs the heat from outside air and releases it inside during the winter and does the opposite in the summer. It is a multi-purpose device which asks as a heater in the winter and an air conditioning unit in the summer. But how does it absorb heat and move it from one place to another?
Heat Likes to Flow Downhill
The reason why an air source heat pump works so well is that heat naturally has a tendency to flow “downhill”. That is, it naturally leaves a location which has a very high temperature and flows towards somewhere with a lower temperature.
A heat pump is able to use a little bit of energy to reverse this process and pull heat from a cooler area in order to pump it into a high-temperature area. It will take some of the air which surrounds your house and extracts the heat from it using an evaporator coil.
The pump has a refrigerant liquid inside its pipes which becomes heated up by the air from the outside flowing over top of it. It will then boil and evaporate, turning to vapor. The vapor will then become compressed which causes it to heat up even more. It will then go through a condenser and the heat within it is used in heating systems throughout the house.
After the outdoor heat exchanger coil has extracted the heat from the air around your home, an indoor coil will transfer the heat straight into your indoor heating system or water tank. This could be a radiator or an under-floor circuit.
How Well Do They Work?
If you live somewhere with a wide fluctuation in temperature throughout the year, you might be wondering whether your air source heat pump will function well throughout the seasons.
The average standard air source heat pump can extract heat from the air even when the temperature is down to -15 degrees Celsius. This means that in most places, especially in the UK, your air source heat pump should have you covered for the entire year. There are also air source heat pumps designed specifically for very cold climates which can extract heat from the air even in temperatures as cold as -25 degrees Celsius.
A good quality well-maintained air source heat pump will last for 20 years and should only require a small amount of maintenance by expert MEP Engineers. This is because there are very few moving parts which reduce the number of repairs.
There is a certain amount of electricity which is required to keep the pump running. However, for every one unit of electricity is used to power the pump, two or three units of heat are produced. This makes the pump a very effective way to heat the home.
Take care of your air source heat pump and it will keep you warm or cool for many years!