How to make a heat pump from an air conditioner

How to make a heat pump from an air conditioner with your own hands?

The heat pump is one of the most effective means for heating the house. It is widely used in Europe, where the cost of energy is expensive. Often, heat pumps are used in conjunction with fireplaces to further save electricity. However, the heat pump has one significant drawback: cost of the installation and maintenance.

If you still decide to install a heat pump in your home, try to assemble the device with your own hands. This can be done on the basis of an old air conditioner. Of course, such an installation will work less efficiently than a purchased heat pump, but it will give you the opportunity to get acquainted with this heating system. In this article, you will learn how to make a heat pump from inexpensive components.

General information

Before you start assembling a heat pump, it is not superfluous to understand its features and how it works. In the dry residue, the heat pump takes the heat energy from one place and transfers it to another place. It does not produce heat, but only transfers it, this is important to understand.

Household refrigerators and air conditioners in their principle of operation are partly similar to a heat pump, the principle of which is also based on the cyclic transfer of heat energy. It is for this reason that they are often used to assemble a heat pump at home.

Components of heat pump

The heat pump consists of the following components:

  • compressor; -heat exchanger-evaporator (here the refrigerant becomes gaseous); -heat exchanger-condenser (here the refrigerant condenses);

  • control valve;

  • automatic equipment;

  • copper tubes (in them the refrigerating agent circulates).

Freon is used as a refrigerating agent. Which, by the way, is used both in the air conditioner and in the refrigerator. The properties of freon are the best suited for a heat pump.

varieties of freon
Varieties of freon

The principle of operation of the heat pump is simple. The refrigerant circulates through the copper tubes in a liquid state, first entering the evaporator. There it evaporates during interaction with the heat carrier (this can be air or water), after which it continues to move through the tubes, but in a gaseous state.

In the form of gas, the refrigerant enters the compressor, and then moves to another heat exchanger (to the condenser), where it condenses and becomes liquid again. The freon is then transferred to the control valve and the nova enters the evaporator. This is a cyclical process.

Modern split air conditioning systems of the inverter type work on the same principle. Therefore, they can be used as a base for assembling a homemade heat pump.

Types of heat pumps


Heat energy can be extracted even from the air. This task is precisely performed by an air-to-air heat pump. It takes heat from the environment and directs it inside

premises. Such heat pumps are the cheapest, but they are not very efficient. The colder it is outside, the less heat the air-to-air heat pump can collect.


A water-to-water heat pump is much more efficient than an air-to-air heat pump. It takes away the heat energy from water. This can be a well on your site or a reservoir near your home. Often the heat is taken from the well, because few can boast of the presence of reservoirs in a hundred meters from the house.

But there are a number of features: the water from the well must be cleaned before it enters the heat exchanger. Also note that the pipes need to be laid below the freezing depth. And in some regions, the depth of freezing reaches up to two or three meters, which makes it difficult to lay pipes.

Water-to — water pumps are the most efficient and stable. But the purchase and installation of such equipment will cost a round sum, so home craftsmen prefer to assemble such devices with their own hands.

Assembling the heat pump from an old air conditioner

The inverter split system, in fact, can perform the function of an air — to- air heat pump. However, the conversion of the inverter air conditioner in its pure form is not advisable, since such devices are designed to operate at a certain temperature regime, often, up to -5 degrees outside the window. More expensive models can work at -10 or even -20, but it is not so easy to find such a «donor» for reworking.

Therefore, it is recommended to assemble the heat pump from the air conditioner using only its compressor. For such a rework, it is not necessary to buy a fully split system, you can only buy a compressor. It will be a device that resembles a water — to- water heat pump.

You must build a heat exchanger-condenser. Take a copper tube (length 35 meters, wall diameter 1 mm), wind it on a large pipe (diameter 300-400 mm) to give the tube a shape. You should get a snake-like design. Place it in a container with pipes. The container must be made of steel.

In the same way, you need to make a heat exchanger-evaporator. A plastic one will do container.

Now back to the compressor. It must be connected to the lower inlet of the heat exchanger. A control valve is placed on the upper inlet. The resulting design must be properly designed seal it, and then put a refrigerating agent, aka freon, on it.

Most likely, the first launches will be unsuccessful, since this is not a full-fledged heat pump, but only its approximate analogue.


A homemade heat pump will not replace a full-fledged heating system, but it will give you an understanding of how such a system works in general. We wouldn’t use a home-made machine on a permanent basis. If it was easy to assemble with your own hands, it would not be sold for such a lot of money. Make a homemade heat pump and whether it is worth buying it. Good luck!

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