Heat pump units are a great way to heat your home or business. They expend a small amount of energy to produce heat and usually utilize the same pump or compressor that the air conditioning unit uses. All heat pumps operate on a principle called heat transfer- this means that they pull heat out of the air or ground and use it to heat the air that flows into the home. There are three main types of heat pumps to consider when chosen this type of system.
The air-source heat pump is the most common type. These are usually set up a lot like split system air conditioning in that one unit is outside and the other is inside. The outside end houses a fan and a compressor. As the fan blows, air from outside is brought in, where it blows over cold coils. The refrigerant in the coils converts the air to vapor, which is taken in by the compressor. This heats the refrigerant on the other end. The inside end houses the hot coils and as air from the house blows over the hot coils, it heats up, rises, and is drawn into a duct by a fan. The warm air is then transported to all parts of the home through the duct system in the walls and ceilings. Alternatively, the refrigerant can be reversed so that the hot end is on the outside and the cold on the inside. Thus, the heat pump can actually serve as an air conditioner. This is very economical because it eliminates the need for both an air conditioning unit and a heater.
An absorption heat pump is actually a type of air-source pump, although they operate differently. For starters, absorption heat pumps do not run on electricity rather, they are powered by either a generator that runs on natural gas or propane or they run on solar or geothermal energy. The heat pump works by absorbing ammonia into water. This is the purpose of the absorber. After that, a low-pressure pump pressurizes the water. It is then heated by the heat source until the ammonia boils out of the water. Air is taken in which blows over the condenser, heats up and then is drawn into the ducts and transported throughout the home.
Ground-source heat pumps are somewhat different than air-source pumps. They rely on heat transfer from the ground in order to heat the coils on the inside end of the system. In this case, there is one unit inside the house and either an open or closed circuit of pipes buried outside. Fluid is moved through the pipes by a compressor. This is usually either water or refrigerant. In closed-circuit systems, it is more common to have refrigerant. Water is more usually used in an open circuit because it is connected to another source, such as a well or a lake. Once the hot liquid is moved into the hot coils, air from the house is drawn in over the coils. It is heated and from there is transported through the ducts to the rest of the house.
Breakdowns with these heat pumps can occur with a number of different parts including the burner, generator, or absorber. Rainforest Plumbing & Air technicians are trained to work with all kinds of heat pumps.
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