What is a home heat pump?

Adequate solutions are not being produced globally to deal with heat waves. It is a phenomenon that is limited to a certain period of the year, but has become very frequent with the climate crisis. Thermometers are showing inappropriate readings, and in the northern hemisphere autumn has become an extension of summer. At the very least, technology can help us beat the temperatures. This is the case of the heat pump based on aerothermal energy.

A heat pump is a machine that moves energy in the form of heat from one place to another. It can be used to heat a room when it is cold, and conversely, heat can be used to cool a place. Depending on where you live, one option or the other will be more beneficial. In any case, it is a technology little known to the public and gaining ground as a cheaper alternative.

And today, the most used technologies to combat heat are fans and air conditioners. However, the aerothermal-based heat pump offers very interesting features such as it consumes much less electricity, is useful all year round, and can even be used to heat water beyond heating a cold room.

Another way to fight the heat

A simple search on the internet will give us several results of heat pumps for air conditioning a home. As we need to heat or cool our home, hot or cold. Heat pumps work similarly to air conditioners. We can even compare it with refrigerators. Moreover, some models look similar to each other. And all three use thermodynamics. Or what is now known as aerothermy, that is, transporting the energy of the air in the form of hot or cold. But, there are certain differences.

The heat pump acts as a climate control and also allows you to heat water. Those who use aerothermic use the energy of the air. However, the most popular ones at the industrial level are those that use the cold of water or the heat of the ground to work. The air-based heat pump is simpler and there are more models with simplified installation for home use. Additionally, they have certain properties. They produce up to 4 kW of energy for every kW of energy consumed. This means, in the long run, savings in consumed electrical energy.

Aerothermal heat pump manufacturers such as Toshiba state that electricity consumption is only 22% of the energy provided in pump models with energy class A+++. Other brands claim to use 70% of energy from ambient temperature and only 30% from electricity. This represents a huge savings in heat compared to air conditioning or other heating sources such as gas or propane.

Other manufacturers known for gas boilers, such as Vaillant, say aerothermal heat pumps save up to 60% on electricity bills. But even the main air conditioning brands already have aerothermal heat pumps in their catalogs.

There are several systems regarding how the heat or cold provided by a heat pump is distributed. Depending on the model, the heat pump consists of an internal machine, an external unit that captures energy from the air, and finally air equipment that distributes heat or cold, called fan coils, and other systems such as radiators or underfloor heating to transmit heat and cold. They all use water distributed in pipes. It uses the energy of the air in the heating process, and for cooling it usually has a coolant similar to that of refrigerators, which cools the water responsible for dispersing heat or cold throughout the house.

A sustainable alternative

Heat pumps utilize the energy of air, water and soil. These are inexhaustible resources and are found in nature. And although they use electricity to operate, they produce more energy than they consume in the process. Together, the use of this type of technology is a great alternative to other sources that consume more electricity, such as air conditioning. It is also a way to reduce electricity costs and also reduce the CO2 emissions produced when the electricity industry has to burn gas to produce energy.

Tackling the climate crisis should not be inconsistent with giving up certain “comforts” such as coping with cold or heat. When we talk about extreme temperatures that affect people to the point of endangering our lives, and when the temperature outside exceeds 43ºC, our health is affected.

To combat extreme temperatures, it is important to make many changes to buildings, cities and how we consume available resources. But with all these solutions, it is possible to leverage increasingly cost-effective technologies such as heat pumps to beat the cold or heat while reducing our impact on the planet.