When working in and around Berkshire, we often hear the terms ‘heat pump’ and ‘air conditioning’ and most people usually don’t know the difference. In fact, the terms are used so interchangeably you would wonder whether there is a difference.
Simply put, a heat pump is a device that uses a small amount of energy to move heat from one location to another. Not too difficult, right? Heat pumps are typically used to pull heat out of the air or ground to heat a home or office building, but they can be reversed to cool a building.
Definition of air conditioning
Air conditioning is the process of altering the properties of air (usually temperature and humidity) to more favourable conditions. More generally, air conditioning can refer to any form of technological cooling, heating, ventilation, or disinfection that modifies the condition of air.
So, the term air conditioning really is quite generic and can apply to a large number of different devices including simple extract fans, heat pumps and freezer units. The most common form of air conditioning we see in offices and homes is actually an air to air heat pump.
What are the main types of heat pumps in Berkshire ?
Air to Air Heat Pumps
The most common type of heat pump in Berkshire and elsewhere are Air to Air Heat Pump can provide heating and cooling for the home or commercial building. It often feature advanced air purification technology which is particularly beneficial to allergy sufferers. They are now mass produced and are a very cost effective solution to heating and cooling.
The heat pump comprises an outdoor and an indoor unit which convert latent energy in the air (even on the coldest days) into heat for your home. The outdoor unit extracts the energy in air outside the property. This heat, absorbed by refrigerant solution within the unit, is turned into hot air by the indoor unit and distributed within the property.
Air to Water heat pumps
Air to water heat pumps use the constant energy available in the air with a refrigerant circuit which allows the temperature to be boosted to a useful level for heating or hot water for the home or small office building.
Ground source heat pumps
A ground source heat pump unit uses the natural energy stored in the earth to heat your home. Ground source heat pumps are suitable for a variety of properties and are designed to be the sole source of heating and hot water in the home or office. System heat pumps require a separate cylinder and can also be used with solar water heating. Combi heat pumps have an integrated cylinder. For every single kilowatt of electricity used to power the ground source heat pumps, this system could generate four kilowatts or more in energy for your home.
Water to Water heat pumps
This type of heat pump draws heat from the cold source, which consists of water (from lakes, rivers or the water table) and gives it off to the hot source, which consists of a water circuit (for the heating of the rooms).