Do you know how a heat pump works?

Well, I found it very interesting when I first learned that a heat pump does not create heat from electricity.  I thought since it uses electricity to run, that must be how it creates heat.  But I was completely wrong!  A heat pump uses the process of refrigeration to produce heating and cooling.  Instead of electricity like an electric space heater or electric baseboard, which are the most expensive sources of heat.  That’s why a heat pump is so cost efficient.  It only uses electricity to turn on and run the compressor and fan… just like our refrigerator!  So we are able to save money on heating costs in the winter and air conditioning costs in the summer.

The process of refrigeration usually cools, but it can be reversed to produce heat as well.

I’ve been told that a heat pump basically pulls heat from the air, compresses it and then blows it into your house.  So then I thought… well in the cold Maine winters there is no heat in the air, so it’s not going work here… well, I was wrong again!  There’s just a little more to it than that.

Heat pumps work very well in Maine even at subzero temperatures.  A heat pump uses refrigerant contained in copper lines in a closed loop system, like in a refrigerator.  Refrigerant is a gas, when you compress a gas it generates heat and when you decompress a gas it cools.  When the air is blown over the heated coils your feel hot air, when it is blown over the cooled coils you feel cold air.  That’s how a heat pump can provide heating and cooling within the same system.  I never thought I’d be able to buy a heating system and use if for air conditioning too.

What a great invention!  Makes me wonder why someone didn’t improve on the concept sooner.  Home refrigerators have been around for quite a while.  ?

You can read a more detailed description on how a heat pump works on our information page.  Check it out!

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