Heat pumps are an integral part of air conditioning technology. Heat pumps transfer heat from one environment to another via refrigerant. In cooling mode, heat pumps transfer the heat in an enclosed area to the outside air, resulting in the cooling of the area concerned. This is a role that heat pumps play in common refrigeration and air conditioning systems. Heat pumps however also allow this process to be reversed. They can pump heat extracted from the outside air indoors, allowing indoor environments to be heated as well as cooled using the same technology.
Heat pumps offer numerous advantages as a heating solution. The same systems used to cool can also be used to heat, resulting in less initial investment and simplicity in operation and maintenance. Heat pumps also have an important advantage in efficiency. Unlike fossil fuelled heating systems, heat pumps extract available heat from the outside air. Heat pumps offer efficiency gains to the order of 3:1 compared to electrical heating.