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Geothermal Heat Pump Theory

Operation of Vapor Compression Systems

Practically all refrigeration systems today operate on the ''vapor compression'' principle. This term simply means that the heat being removed and transported to another location is accomplished by the alternate evaporation and condensation
of a refrigerant usually a man made chemical commonly referred to as a Freon.

The state of this refrigerant ( i.e. whether it exists as a liquid or vapor) is controlled by a compressor which varies the pressure on the refrigerant. To use a simple word picture, the Freon gas which transfers heat in a refrigerating machine or heat pump, has the ability to absorb heat when it changes state from a liquid to a gas much the same way a sponge soaks up water.


Similarly, when the Freon changes back into a liquid (in the air coil inside your home) it releases its heat much like wringing out the sponge. It is this process that allows us to absorb heat from ground, concentrate it through the heat pump system, and deliver it to the home in the form of warm air.


To properly grasp the concept, one must bear in mind that the heat pump does not produce heat by itself. It is merely a mechanism that moves heat from one place to another.