We know that the air-conditioning system is used for cooling the room in summers when atmospheric temperatures are very high, but do you know that the air-conditioner can also be used to heat the room during winter conditions? Actually the air-conditioner which is used for heating the room is called as heat pump. The components of the heat pump are exactly same as the air conditioner; the only difference is that the heat pump works in direction opposite to that of the air conditioners. The heat pump is reverse air conditioner or refrigerator.
Heat pump is the devise which is used to carry the heat from atmosphere which is at low temperature to the room which is at high temperature. Thus heat pump is the devise in which heat is carried from low temperature reservoir to the high temperature reservoir. The second definition of the heat pump is exactly same as the air conditioner or the refrigerator or even the freezer.
As per the second law of thermodynamics, the natural tendency of the heat is to flow from the high temperature reservoir to the low temperature reservoir, but in the heat pump the heat travels from low temperature reservoir to the high temperature reservoir. Since this is against the natural flow of heat, some external work has to be supplied to the heat pump in order to enable the transfer of heat from low temperature to the high temperature reservoir.
Comparison of Heat Pump with Electric Room Heater
The main purpose of the heat pump is to heat the room when the atmospheric temperature is very low. The same purpose can also be served by the ordinary electric room heater. However, for heating the same size of the room and adding same quantity of heat to the room, the power consumed by the electric room heater is more that that consumed by the heat pump.
On the other hand, the heat pump is much more expensive than the electric room heater. Thus if you have to use the heater for longer hours of duration, the heat pump is more economical in the long-run, but if you have to use the heater less frequently, you can opt for the electric room heater since its initial cost is low.
This post is part of the series: Heat Pumps
Heat pumps are the devices that are used for heating the room. The heat pump consumes less power than the electric room heater, however their initial cost is high. This series of article describes the various parts of heat pump, its working and comparison to refrigerator and air conditioner.