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Geothermal Heat Pump Theory

Glossary of Terms

Since the following pages will be devoted to the understanding of heat pumps and their applications it will be helpful to become familiar with the following terms:


Heat Pump--A heat pump is any device that moves heat from one place to another
Heat Source--The area where heat is taken from (Water, air, etc.)
Heat Sink--The area where heat is deposited (Inside a home, etc.)
Evaporator--The heat absorbing mechanism in a heat pump
Condenser--The heat rejecting mechanism in a heat pump
COP--The coefficient of performance of a heating system is a ratio of the heat we get out divided by the heat we put in electrically
SCOP--The SEASONAL COEFFICIENT OF PERFORMANCE is the average COP over the entire heating season
EER -- The ENERGY EFFICIENCY RATIO is the ratio of Btu's of cooling divided by total watts used
SEER -- Average EER over entire cooling season
Degree day--the number of degrees that the mean temperature for that day is below 65° F (eg. mean temp. of 40 for the day--65-40=25 degree days)
CFM--Cubic feet per minute of air flow
KWH--Kilowatt hours
BTU--British thermal units (method of measuring a quantity of heat). The amount of heat required to raise one pound of water 1° F.( 1 BTU= WATTS * 3.413; 1 WATT = 3.413 BTU'S)