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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
heat pump
▪ Both the photovoltaic and wind power systems for domestic hot-water provision would be even more effective if linked to a heat pump.
▪ Energy systems analysis, heat pump control and applications.
▪ His heat pump is relatively new, but the air-handling system is two decades old.
heat pump

n. A device that transfers heat from something at a lower temperature to something at a higher temperature by doing work

heat pump

n. apparatus that extracts heat from a liquid that is at a higher temperature than its surroundings; can be used to transfer heat from a reservoir outside in order to heat a building

Heat pump

A heat pump is a device that provides heat energy from a source of heat to a destination called a "heat sink". Heat pumps are designed to move thermal energy opposite to the direction of spontaneous heat flow by absorbing heat from a cold space and releasing it to a warmer one. A heat pump uses some amount of external power to accomplish the work of transferring energy from the heat source to the heat sink.

While air conditioners and freezers are familiar examples of heat pumps, the term "heat pump" is more general and applies to many HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) devices used for space heating or space cooling. When a heat pump is used for heating, it employs the same basic refrigeration-type cycle used by an air conditioner or a refrigerator, but in the opposite direction - releasing heat into the conditioned space rather than the surrounding environment. In this use, heat pumps generally draw heat from the cooler external air or from the ground. In heating mode, heat pumps are three to four times more efficient in their use of electric power than simple electrical resistance heaters. Typically installed cost for a heat pump is about 20 times greater than for resistance heaters.