How do Heat Pumps work? – Blog

21 February 2022

With the UK Government setting the ambitious target of 600,000 heat pump installations by 2028, what actually is a heat pump and how does it work? This blog will clear that up for you readers.

Well, a heat pump is effectively an air-conditioning unit, operating in reverse using the refrigeration cycle.

This cycle is already used in all of our homes as the principal for operation of our fridge. Our fridges have four main components interconnected by pipes that contain refrigerant gas, we put our food or drink into the fridge where their heat is absorbed by a coil component called an evaporator.

The evaporator in the fridge compartment absorbs heat from the items inside and the refrigerant is passed on to the compressor. The compressor then uses electrical energy to heat the refrigerant further, passing it on to the condenser at the back of our fridges. The condenser allows the upgraded heat to be released into the surrounding air, cooling the refrigerant in the process.

This then passes through an expansion valve where it cools further allowing the now cold refrigerant to pass back into the evaporator in the fridge compartment and the refrigeration cycle begins again.

Heat pumps operate by using the condenser as the heat emitter inside our buildings. Through electricity supplied to the compressor, this upgrades heat from colder conditions outside. They’re three to four times more efficient then gas condenser boilers making them a practical and viable option to reduce energy and CO2 usage for the future of our buildings.