The UK government wants people to replace their old boilers with heat pumps. In a bid to incentivise people to make the switch, households will be offered £5,000 grants from next April. But what exactly are heat pumps and how do heat pumps work?
A heat pump follows the same principle as your refrigerator. Simply put, it takes air from its surroundings then heats it, before pumping it around your home.
The components of a heat pump
There are two main components in a heat pump. The outdoor unit contains a coil and a fan. The fan blows air over the coil, which evaporates the air. The second main component, the indoor unit, also contains a coil and a fan. Here, the coil condenses and warms the air and the fan moves it over the coil and around your home.
Heat pumps contain refrigerant, a substance that melts and cools in relationship to the air. The compressor works with the refrigerant, helping move air through the system. Heat pumps also contain a reversing valve which enables the pump to cool your home in summer. An expansion valve regulates the refrigerant as it flows through the system. But how do heat pumps work?
How a heat pump works
Heat will naturally flow into cooler areas with less pressure. A heat pump works by connecting heat with cooler, lower pressure climates.
The heat pump extracts heat from the air, ground or water around your home.