Heat Transfer Principle
There are many different kinds of heat pumps, but they all operate on the same basic principle of heat transfer. Rather than burning fuel to create heat, heat pumps move heat from one place to another. This occurs because heat tends to move from a location with a high temperature to a location with a lower temperature.
Air-Source Heat Pump
One of the most common types of heat pumps is the air-source heat pump. These heat pumps take heat from the air outside your home or office building and pump it inside through refrigerant-filled coils (similar to what’s on the back of a refrigerator) to cool down the building.
Ground-Source Heat Pumps
Another type of heat pump is the ground-source heat pump. Ground-source heat pumps absorb heat from the ground and transfer it indoors, and vice versa. Most ground-source heat pumps transfer heat aby absorbing it through buried pipes filled with water or refrigerant—which is why a professional HVAC contractor is needed to install the equipment.
Absorption Heat Pump
You may also run into absorption heat pumps, which are powered by natural gas, solar power, propane, or geothermal-heated water. The main difference between standard air-source and absorption heat pumps is that instead of compressing a refrigerant, absorption heat pumps absorb ammonia into water before pressurizing it with a low-power pump, which is then boiled out and repeated over again.