Air-water heat pumps use outside air as a natural source of heat. A fan draws in the ambient air and the natural thermal energy of this air, for example in the outdoor unit of the heat pump, causes the refrigerant in the heat pump to evaporate due to its extremely low boiling point. An electricity-driven compressor then compresses the gas until it has reached the desired temperature and a heat exchanger can then use the gas to produce hot water for heating and domestic use. An expansion valve reduces the pressure to liquefy the gas again and the cycle can start all over again.Air-water heat pumps are the most frequently sold heat pumps because they are the cheapest to buy, do not require any permits, require little space and can be installed both inside and outside. The use of these is supported by government subsidies and is suitable for new buildings and retrofitting. They can be used as the sole heating system and water heater or as a supplement to gas or oil heating. The air-source heat pumps are not quite as energy-efficient as brine or water heat pumps because the ambient air is subject to significant temperature fluctuations. The lower the air temperature is, the more additional energy in the form of electricity is needed to cover the heat demand.
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