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How Heat Pumps Work

  • How Heat Pumps Work

    Electric-oil-heaterYour conventional heater uses resistance of electricity to generate heat and is therefore limited in how efficient it can be. As the electricity runs through the heater it meets resistance and hence heats up. For every kilowatt of electricity used in this style of heater the maximum amount of energy it can put out is one kilowatt.

    Heat pumps work differently. They collect, then transport heat from the environment via a refrigerant gas. i.e. When they are heating your home they capture the heat from outside and transport it inside. Conversely when you are cooling your home they capture the heat inside and transport it outside. By not actually having to generate the heat themselves they are very energy efficient. Even when its cold outside the heat pumps takes heat from the air by making the air even colder.


    There are two parts to them: the outdoor unit and the indoor unit.

    An indoor unit typically looks like the picture above. Inside the unit is a large ‘grill’ which carries the refrigerant and a fan to push air over this grill. The warm refrigerant is pumped in from the outdoor unit and passes through this grill. The fan then blows this warm temperature off the grill and into your home. The refrigerant is then pumped back outside to be reheated and the process cycles round and round.

    heat-pump-outdoorunitThe outdoor unit which looks similar to this is placed outside the home in a place where air can move freely through it. Similar to the indoor unit, it has a series of grills inside it and a fan. When air is passed over this grill it warms up the refrigerant. This warm refrigerant is then pumped inside to the indoor unit.

    Using this technology, the approximate efficiency of a heat pump is 1 to 3. This means for every 1kw of energy put into the heat pump it will generate 3kw of heat in your home.

    We sell two brands of heat pumps, Mitsubishi Electric and Toshiba.