Heat pumps – characteristics

A heat pump is a low-temperature heating device. It uses the heat energy naturally stored in the ground, air and water. The principle of operation of such a pump is based on the physical transformations that occur in the device, i.e. evaporation, condensation and expansion. Inside the heat pump there is an ecological working medium, which undergoes transformations from liquid to gaseous and vice versa. This results in a flow of heat energy from the lower to the upper source.

How does it work?

In the so-called evaporator, the working medium evaporates, thus absorbing thermal energy from the lower source. Low-pressure steam is then sucked into the compressor, where its temperature rises. Another element of the circuit is the condenser. The compressed refrigerant transfers the heat energy to the upper source, which causes its condensation. On the way to the evaporator, the refrigerant encounters a compressed valve, which in turn rationes the amount of refrigerant entering the evaporator, which lowers its pressure and temperature. Thanks to this, the refrigerant circulates in the thermodynamic circuit and ensures the cyclicality of the pump’s operation.

Types of heat pumps

  • The air-to-water pump uses outdoor air as an energy source. This type of pump is ideal when the outside temperature does not exceed -5°C. In this case, a temperature of up to 35°C can be achieved in the central circuit. At temperatures below -5°C, reaching 35°C is less efficient because the pump, instead of the lower source, draws most of its energy from electricity, which has a significant impact on operating costs.
  • The water-to-water pump uses underground watercourses as its lower energy source. This requires access to watercourses with a specific capacity. A major disadvantage of this solution is the fact that water from the watercourses is mineralized, which causes corrosion and damage to the pump components.
  • The brine-water pump absorbs the solar energy accumulated in the ground. The pump takes advantage of the fact that the ground temperature below 1.5 m depth is constant at 7-8°C. This in turn allows the circulating medium in the system to be heated to about 4°C, and then the pump raises the temperature to 35°C by means of a compressor.

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