What is a heat pump and how does it work?

A heat pump is an electrical device that extracts heat from one place and transfers it to another. The heat pump is not a new technology; it has been used in Sweden and around the world for decades. Refrigerators and air conditioners are both common examples of heat pumps.

Heat pumps transfer heat by circulating a substance called a refrigerant through a cycle of alternating evaporation and condensation. A compressor pumps the refrigerant between two heat exchangers. In one heat exchanger, the evaporator, the refrigerant is evaporated at low pressure and absorbs heat from its surroundings. The refrigerant is then compressed en route to the heat exchanger, the condenser, where it condenses at high pressure. At this point, it releases the heat it absorbed earlier in the cycle.