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A heat pump is a refrigeration gadget used to switch heat from one room or area to another. The heat pump is designed to take heat from a medium-temperature source, reminiscent of outdoor air, and convert it to higher-temperature heat for distribution within a structure. By way of a specifically designed reversing valve, the pump may also extract heat from the indoor air and expel it outdoors.

Because a heat pump system uses the reverse-cycle principle of operation, its operating principle is sometimes referred to as reverse cycle conditioning or reverse-cycle refrigeration. The latter term is not appropriate because there are basic differences between the working principles of a heat pump and a real refrigeration unit. The confusion probably stems from the truth that throughout the cooling cycle, the operation of a pump is equivalent to that of the mechanical refrigeration cycle in a packaged air conditioning unit. The indoor coil perform as an evaporator, cooling the indoor air. The outdoor coil is condenser, in which the recent refrigerant gas releases heat to the outside air.

Heat Pump Operating Principles

The 2 principal phases of heat pump operation are the heating and cooling cycles. A third phase, the defrost cycle is used to protect the coils from excessive frost buildup.

Heating Cycle

The heating cycle of a heat pump begins with the circulation of a refrigerant by way of the outside coils. Initially, the refrigerant is in a low-pressure, low-temperature liquid state however it soon absorbs enough heat from the outdoor air to boost its temperature to the boiling point. Upon reaching the boiling level, the refrigerant modifications right into a scorching vapor or gas. This gas is then compressed by the compressor and circulated under high pressure and temperature by way of the indoor coils, the place it comes into contact with the cooler room air that circulates around the coils. The cooler air causes the gas to cool, condense and return to the liquid state. The condensation of the refrigerant vapor releases heat to the interior of the structure. After the refrigerant has returned to a liquid state, it passes via a special pressure-reducing device and back by means of the coils where the heating cycle starts all over again.

Cooling Cycle

Within the cooling cycle, the reverse valve causes he stream of the refrigerant to be reversed. Because of this, the compressor pumps the refrigerant within the opposite direction in order that the coils that heat the building or space in cold weather cool it in warm weather. In different words, the heat is extracted from the interior, cycled by the heat pump after which expelled outside the building or space throughout the condensation of refrigerant.

Defrost Cycle

Because the outside air is comparatively cool when the heat pump is on the heating cycle, and the outside coil is appearing as an evaporator, frost forms on the surface of the coil under sure conditioners of temperature and relative humidity. Because this layer of frost on the coils interferes with the environment friendly operation of the heat pump, it must be removed. This is completed by placing the pump by way of a defrost cycle.

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