How Heat Pumps Work...

Heat Pumps operate in a similar way to a refrigerator - they move heat from a cold place to a hot place. A compressor, condenser, expansion valve and evaporator are used to change the state of refrigerant from a liquid to hot gas and from a gas to cold liquid.

The main stages of the process are as follows: 

1. Liquid refrigerant passes through the heat exchanger to ground loop coils at a low   temperature.
2. Liquid from the ground loop enters the unit and heat is transferred from this liquid to the refrigerant. As a result, the refrigerant boils and becomes vapour. 

3. The vapour is drawn into the compressor, where the pressure and therefore the temperature of the gas is increased.

4. The vapour then enters the condenser or load side heat exchanger and heat from the vapour is transferred to the water used to heat the building. As the vapour cools it condenses back to a liquid, which releases considerable latent heat to water passing through the heat exchanger.

 5. The refrigerant, which is now a cold liquid at high pressure, passes through an expansion valve, which reduces the pressure so that the cold liquid can re-enter the evaporator and begin the cycle again.

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