What is a Heat Pump?
In simple terms its a money saving device for your building. Like a refrigerator or air conditioner, a heat pump forces the transfer of heat energy from the ground, water or air to the application. Using motive power to run the heat pump's process effects the transfer of several times as much energy to the application, be it heating, hot water or even cooling.
In theory, heat can be extracted from any source, no matter how cold, but a warmer source allows higher efficiency.
The relationship between how much power we use, versus how much energy is delivered, is known as a COP (or Coefficient of Operating Performance). If a heat pump uses 2 kW of power and delivers 8kW of energy it's COP is 4 (8 / 2 = 4), a typical figure easily achieved in Ireland for an air to water heat pump for instance.
HEAT PUMP Technology and Application overview
A ground-source heat pump uses the shallow ground or ground water (typically starting at 10–12 °C) as a source of heat, thus taking advantage of its seasonally moderate temperatures. In contrast, an air to water heat pump draws heat from the outdoor air and in colder weather thus requires more energy or often a secondary source of heat for extreme weather.
Closed loop geothermal heat pumps circulate a carrier fluid (usually a water/antifreeze mix) through pipes buried in the ground or in boreholes. As the fluid circulates underground it absorbs heat from the ground and, on its return, the now warmer fluid passes through the heat pump which uses electricity to extract the heat from the fluid. The re-chilled fluid is sent back into the ground thus continuing the cycle. The heat extracted and that generated by the heat pump appliance as a byproduct is used to heat the house