An Introduction to Heat Pumps (for non-specialist citizens)

Executive Summary:

Prologue (2018.12.xx)

I just read an article in New Scientist magazine where the author states that the only way to for the EU and UK to meet their CO2 Reduction Targets is to introduce heat pump technology to heating-cooling refurbishments, both residential and industrial. Since I know a thing or two about heat pumps, I decided to create this web-page in order to pass on some of my knowledge to the less informed. What follows is a very simple description targeted at secondary school students -and- adults with minimal science education.


  1. I have gone out of my way to not mention anything about fossil fuels here.
  2. I will attempt to introduce the non-scientific reader to some scientific terms (kept to the secondary school level)
  3. For simplicity, all explanations here will ignore conversion losses.

Heat Energy, Temperature, and Changes of State

jump: click here if you already know this stuff

Heat Energy and Temperature

Calories and other units

To keep things as simple as possible, the remainder of this article will only use calories


refrigeration cycle


Electric Heat

Air-Source Heat Pumps

Ground-Source Heat Pumps

COP (coefficient of performance)

Other Loops

External Links

Back to Home
Neil Rieck
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.