How Does Heat Pump Water Heating System Work?

Blog | November 9th, 2018

Adding active power to passive hot water tank design, heat pump water heating systems add more than a few supplementary components to what would ordinarily be a familiar system layout. First off, the pump incorporated here is intended to be part of the water heating cycle. While other models are built simply to transport hot water, this pump type actually removes energy from the outside environment.

Removes Heat from the Air 

Energy-efficient by design, the heat pump sucks in hot air from large or small spaces. Well, technically speaking, it’s the equipment fan that takes care of this chore. From here, the operational cycle begins to look suspiciously like the one employed in refrigeration equipment, except it’s turned the cycle in reverse. The fan-captured heat, sucked in through a series of tank vents, now flows through an integrated evaporator coil. Interestingly, like a refrigerator or air conditioner, there’s a refrigerant coursing through the evaporator.

Reversing the Refrigeration Cycle 

So far, so good, the refrigerant is warming up because of the areas warm air. Using the same laws of physics that shape this energy conserving device’s operating principles, the refrigerant vaporizes and experiences pressure changes. Now, here’s where the hot water receives its energy. If we could see the water tank as a cutaway, then the copper coil inside the water storage area would become evident. It’s this coil that absorbs thermal energy from the vaporized refrigerant, hence the pump water heating effect. All that’s left now is to hook up the building’s water system.

Coupling the Water Lines 

At the bottom of the tank, the cold water line supplies the initial discharge. Towards the top of the compact heating cylinder, the heated water leaves on its journey towards the property’s hot water taps and other warm water lines. Inside the tank, between those two pipes, the cold water receives energy from the copper coil, then the cool, now liquid refrigerant returns to the system to start the cycle all over again. Impressively efficient, at least in areas that are loaded with hot air, heat pump water heating systems rely on fans, refrigerants, coils and copper heating tubes, not electrical elements or gas.

At the end of the day, this is a refrigerant-enabled heat transference solution. The energy is floating free in the air. A fan-assisted evaporator coil simply draws in that energy and leeches it away. That’s quite a convenient and energy conserving layout. To keep it cost-effective, though, there are other components to be integrated. A high-performance compressor/evaporator unit is clearly mandated, as is a top-quality system anode, a component that exists to protect the copper heating coil.

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