An Energy Efficient HVAC Solution

When temperatures reach unbearable heights this summer, the thing to do is turn up the heat…The heat pump, that is!

The system utilizes electricity to move heat from one place to another and is a practical home heating system throughout the year. This is because the heat pump, in the warm months, acts as a clean, ultra efficient air conditioner. In the winter, it pulls warm air from outside and moves it indoors to heat your home. In the summer, it acts like an air conditioner by moving warm air from inside your home to outside, while circulating cool air inside.

When the heat pump acts as a cooling system, a liquid refrigerant passes through the expansion device, changing to a low-pressure liquid/vapour mixture. It then goes to the indoor coil, which acts as the evaporator. The liquid refrigerant absorbs heat from the indoor air and boils, becoming a low-temperature vapour.

The vapour passes through the reversing valve to the accumulator, which collects any remaining liquid, and then to the compressor. The vapour is then compressed, reducing its volume and causing it to heat up.

Finally, the gas, which is now hot, passes through the reversing valve to the outdoor coil, which acts as the condenser. The heat from the hot gas is transferred to the outdoor air, causing the refrigerant to condense into a liquid. This liquid returns to the expansion device, and the cycle is repeated.

While the technology has been around since the 1850s, heat pumps have more recently gained traction as an energy-efficient alternative to other types of home heating systems, such as a natural gas furnace or electric baseboards. Not only do they provide both heating and cooling in one unit, heat pumps can be up to 50 percent more efficient than a typical window AC unit when it comes to cooling, and as much as 300 percent more efficient than electric baseboards when it comes to heating.

Like any other conversion, there is an initial cost for purchasing and installation. Long-term savings through reduced energy bills should be taken into account. As well, there are potential government grants available, since the technology is both energy efficient and more environmentally friendly.

With four decades of experience, Hyde-Whipp Heating and Air Conditioning in Orangeville foresees environmental factors leading to increasing heat pump usage.

Darryl Hyde-Whipp, who co-owns the company with his wife Heidi, says some people still have concerns about the environmental impact of heat pumps, even though they are powered by electricity, not fossil fuels.

“Educating consumers about the energy efficiency of heat pumps and their ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can help address these concerns,” he figures. “Highlighting the use of environmentally friendly refrigerants and the potential for integration with renewable energy sources can further emphasize the eco-friendly nature of heat pumps.”

When it comes to deciding whether to install a heat pump system, factors to consider include the home’s heating load and the efficiency rating and compressor types associated with the pumps.

Your heating load is the amount of heating that your home needs to maintain the indoor temperature at a comfortable level, which is largely based on your home’s size. HVAC professionals, such as Hyde-Whipp, can help you accurately determine your heating load.

As for rating efficiency and determining what type of compressor you want, there are two key things to be aware of.

The Heating Season Performance Factor (HSPF) refers to heating efficiency and the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) refers to the heat pump’s cooling efficiency. The higher the rating, the more efficient the heat pump is at either heating or cooling.

The Coefficient of Performance (COP) measures how much heating or cooling a heat pump with every watt of energy. The higher the COP, the more efficient the heat pump is.

Heat pumps with variable-speed compressors are more efficient than those with single-speed or two-speed compressors, which means they’ll use less electricity and cost less to run.

Darryl also points out that the technology has been established to the point where customers can be confident about the availability of after-sales service.

“It’s essential to note that, while environmental benefits are significant, other factors, such as cost, performance and convenience also influence purchasing decisions.”

Hyde-Whipp offers the value-added measure of regular annual maintenance for all HVAC equipment. “This will ensure that equipment operates efficiently,” says Darryl, “and prevents potential problems before they escalate. We are able to honour all manufacturers part warranties and we also have an extended warranty package available.”

There are also upgrades and enhancements options, such as installing smart thermostats or integrating the heat pump system with other smart home technologies can improve energy efficiency, comfort and convenience for customers.

Homeowners can initiate a regime to ensure optimum performance of their systems. It includes regular filter replacement, keeping the outdoor unit clear of debris, leaves, and any other obstructions, and ensuring adequate clearance around the outdoor unit for proper airflow.

Darryl estimates the lifespan of a heat pump system to be from ten to 15 years but adds that could be extended by practicing diligence and a proper care routine.

He is also confident heat pump technology will continue to be an integral part of the home heating and cooling market. In the coming years, several trends and developments are likely to shape the future of heating and cooling systems.

“Increased adoption of Heat Pump Technology and the integration of Smart and Connected technologies will enhance efficiency and comfort, while reducing energy consumption. With a focus on energy concerns and climate change there will be a continued emphases on energy-efficient and sustainable HVAC solutions.”

WRITTEN BY: DAN PELTON | RESOURCES: HYDE-WHIPP HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING

Author: LivingSpaces

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