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Cold Climate Heat pumps work using the exact same principle that all fridges, freezers and air conditioners have used for decades. It is called the refrigeration cycle, which works by way of outside air passing over a large heat exchanger that collects and transfers the air’s energy to a Freon gas. We then use a compressor to compress the energy transferred in the Freon, this concentrates it to a higher temperature which is then passed over a second heat exchanger and release the energy to our house. Unlike traditional heat pumps that transfer the heat to the home via a forced air fan, Arctic Heat Pumps transfer the hot Freon gas to a special heating fluid (glycol). The hot fluid is then pumped into a storage tank to be distributed as needed to various parts of your house. With this Air to Water Heat pump we can now store the energy just like a solar battery! In the summer time, a reversing valve switches the heat cycle, and the heat inside your house is removed and distributed to the outside air.

energy conservation principle

Heat pumps work using the exact same principle that all fridges, freezers and air conditioners have used for decades. It is called the refrigeration cycle, which works by way of outside air passing over a large heat exchanger that collects its energy. We then use a compressor to compress the outside air energy into concentrated higher temperature energy which is then passed over another heat exchanger. This heat exchanger transfers this compressed energy to a water/glycol heating solution, which is then pumped into a storage tank to be distributed as needed to various parts of your house. In the summer time, a reversing valve switches the heat cycle, and the hot air inside your house is removed and distributed to the outside air.

Understanding the Refrigeration Cycle in a heat pump

Cold air has energy

Arctic Cold Climate Heat Pumps are specifically designed to work in temperatures below freezing as low as -25C (-15F). Few people realize that the air below freezing has nearly the same amount of relative energy as it does above freezing. By understanding the concept that air contains energy, we can then begin to understand how a cold climate heat pump can work. Only in space where the temperature is -273 C (absolute zero) is there no energy left in the air.

Warm always moves to cold

This is the next principle used in a heat pump. Warm air has more energy and more molecules colliding compared to cold air, and will naturally migrate to cold air until an equilibrium is established. So using a colder liquid such as Freon which does not freeze until -50 we can cause the WARMER -25 C air to transfer its energy to the colder Freon inside the heat pump.

Pressure determines boiling point

Different substances have different boiling points and this can be changed by adding or removing pressure. Water boils at 100 C at 14.69 Psi (sea level). However as we reduce the pressure it boils sooner. On Mount Everest with a pressure of only 4.89 psi water boils at about 71 C. This is because it is under less pressure. The refrigeration cycle uses Freon, which transitions from a liquid to a gas at a much lower (colder) temperature compared to water. By adjusting the pressure of Freon, we can manipulate when this phase change occurs. Our heat pumps use a refrigerant called R410a which more suitable for storing energy in colder conditions. The temperature of this refrigerant can be made to boil at as cold as -50 C by reducing the pressure inside the heat pump

The cold -50 Freon passes through a heat exchanger and the warmer energy of the outside air (-25 C) naturally moves to the colder Freon across the heat exchanger. This causes the Freon to absorb the energy. As it heats up the Freon start to evaporate (boil) and turns into a gas, The Freon gas is then brought to a compressor where it is compressed, causing it to greatly increase in temperature as its volume deceases. This hot gas is then transferred over another heat exchanger in which the other side is colder water/glycol and the energy again transitions from hot to cold and heats a water/glycol loop in the home. The refrigerant loses its heat, causing it to cool back to a liquid to begin the cycle again.

That is the basics of the refrigeration cycle. If you understand these basic principles then you can get a grasp on how a heat pump works even in -25 C (-15 F). In essence, a heat pump is simply a means of transferring energy from one source to another. It is the same principle used in a geothermal heat which pulls the warmer energy out of the ground and delivers it to the house through a series of heat exchange processes.

Advantage of EVI Inverter Heat Pumps

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