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How Does a Heat Pump Work?

Heat pumps use environmental energy to generate heating and hot water for your home. This works by extracting thermal energy (heat) from the air, ground or a local water source, which is then converted by a heat pump to generate heating and hot water for your home.

Heat pumps operate by collecting heat through an external collector system - pipes containing liquid filled with anti-freeze - to transfer heat from the ambient temperature. Due to the composition of the liquid, it will always be a lower temperature than outdoors, meaning the heat is transferred into the liquid. It is then passed through to the second cycle, where heat is absorbed into refrigerant and turned into vapour. Once it reaches the compressor, that is turned into steam, raising the temperature to a level usable in your home. We have created a video to showcase this process in action below.

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SImilarly to a household refrigerator, a heat pump works using a system of compression and evaporation. This is done using natural environmental heat from either the air, ground, or water, and transferring the heat to your home and water. This transference works in four stages wherein a refrigerant is circulated throughout the system, carrying the environmental heat energy;

The environmental heat is carried from the outside to the heat exchanger, causing the refrigerant to evaporate into a gas.

The refrigerant is then compressed, increasing the temperate to one that is high enough for use.

The heat is then transferred to the heating system through the refrigerant gas, condensing it back to a liquid. The generated heat will move from the heating system through the homes chosen emitter system (such as underfloor heating or compatible radiators)

The now-liquid refrigerant will then decrease the pressure (and therefore the temperature) by passing through the expansion valve. This then restarts the cycle.

Vaillant Soundbox

Vaillant heat pumps are some of the quietest on the market. The low noise levels mean that the outdoor unit for a Vaillant heat pump can be easily installed even in built-up areas like townhouse complexes and terraced housing estates, where strict noise control regulations may be in force.

'Listen' to the silence for yourself

Types of Heat Pump

There are multiple types of heat pumps that can be used and the best one will likely depend on your home location and surrounding environment. Heat pumps can use air, ground, or water sources to generate hot water and heating for your home.

Air Source Heat Pumps

Air source heat pumps use the external temperature to extract heat and are the most common type of heat pumps, suitable for use even in apartment and flat situations off the ground floor. Some electricity energy is required to allow this, though it is only around 25% of the total energy used during the process. Air source heat pumps will operate in low temperatures too.

Ground Source Heat Pumps

Ground source heat pumps use a system embedded into the ground to extract heat. For this reason, your home does need the necessary land to allow installation of either a ground array or borehole system. Installed systems are not noticeable once completed. Some electricity energy is required to allow this, though it is only around 25% of the total energy used during the process.

Water Source Heat Pumps

Water source heat pumps use a system embedded in a water source to extract heat. Water source heat pumps often provide the most reliable source of hot water and heating in homes, thanks to the consistent water temperatures outside. Additionally, installed water source systems are the most low-profile and are best used in instances where visuals must be preserved at all costs. Some electricity energy is required to allow this, though it is only around 25% of the total energy used during the process.