Warmth Pumps: What’s in a Identify?

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“A greater approach to think about a warmth pump is by describing the way it works: Warmth power is being ‘pumped’ from one location to a different.”

– Piero Caballero

senior product supervisor

Johnson Controls

As residential heat-pump know-how will get higher at warming indoor areas in chillier climates and extra sources are deployed to persuade the general public in Northern states that warmth pumps can do the job within the winter, customers within the South could really feel, nicely, ignored within the chilly.

In hotter elements of the U.S., the place the first climate-conditioning demand is for cooling moderately than heating, HVAC contractors face their very own set of challenges in relation to addressing shopper expectations about warmth pumps — not the least of which is the time period “warmth pump,” which in all probability doesn’t sound reassuring to a house owner who’s unfamiliar with the know-how and whose a/c unit has gone out on a 110°F day in Arizona.

“If there was a greater title, folks would perceive it just a little bit higher,” mentioned Michael Hyde, normal supervisor at Hydes Air Conditioning in Indio, California, the place 100°F-plus days in summer time will not be uncommon and the place the cooling season lasts 9 months. “And it’s not simply the buyer. A few years in the past, once we had a utility rebate, the folks working the rebate didn’t perceive what the warmth pump was.”


Schooling is Key

Those that work with warmth pumps for a residing agree that the time period “warmth pump” could be complicated to those that don’t know a lot about them. Educating customers, consultants say, is important to getting owners to extra readily settle for warmth pumps in states the place extra cooling than heating is required.

They counsel utilizing terminology that focuses on what warmth pumps do — transfer warmth out of an area, or into it, as required.

“The time period ‘warmth pump’ could be deceptive for the reason that phrase ‘warmth’ is within the title, and owners sometimes assume an area is cooled by including cooler air moderately than eradicating warmth,” mentioned Piero Caballero, senior product supervisor for ducted techniques at Johnson Controls. “A greater approach to think about a warmth pump is by describing the way it works: Warmth power is being ‘pumped’ from one location to a different.”

“When putting in, I’d begin up the system and go over it with the house owner,” mentioned Rett Jones, a accomplice and regional supervisor at Air Execs USA, which is predicated in South Florida and has places throughout the Southeast and in different elements of the nation. Jones estimated that he personally has put in between 300 and 400 warmth pumps. “When you’re speaking it on the entrance finish to the house owner, then they perceive.”

“It’s an schooling course of once we exit,” mentioned Hyde. “Most individuals have no idea what a warmth pump is.”

Charles “Dr. Chuck” Allgood, a technical fellow at refrigerant producer The Chemours Co. who has a Ph.D. in chemistry, suggests the title “reversible air conditioner.”

“As a result of the time period ‘air conditioner’ has been round for thus lengthy and is ubiquitous, referring to the ‘warmth pump’ system with a extra correct title — a ‘reversible air conditioner,’ as an illustration — would possibly make it simpler for the buyer to know the idea,” mentioned Allgood. However, he added, the time period “reversible warmth pump” might be extra technically correct.

“Educating customers about how a warmth pump can both add or take away warmth is vital,” Allgood added.

Its title apart, consultants agree, there may be virtually no distinction between the kind of cooling a warmth pump supplies and the sort a standard a/c system supplies. Actually, they mentioned, due to advances in know-how, the cooling expertise and the system’s power effectivity could possibly be higher.

“The kind of cooling supplied by a warmth pump is nearly the identical as that supplied by a standard air conditioner,” mentioned Caballero. “Occupants wouldn’t discover any variations within the cooling expertise, since each techniques can preserve comfy indoor temperatures and take away humidity from the air.”

“When you’re switching from an a/c and furnace setup to a heat-pump system, you’re not going to note any distinction within the cooling facet,” mentioned Jones.

YORK HH8 Heat Pump.

HEAT-PUMP HIGHLIGHTS: The YORK HH8 is a variable-speed warmth pump with an inverter compressor that is designed to work with the low-GWP refrigerant R-454B. It is out there in 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-ton sizes. (Courtesy of Johnson Controls)


Sizing, and Different Issues

Nevertheless, there are some caveats that professionals ought to talk to owners when a furnace and air-conditioning system is being swapped out for a heat-pump system, even within the South.

Foremost is that customers ought to ensure that their contractor is sizing heat-pump tools, and the ductwork for ducted heat-pump techniques, correctly for each heating and cooling wants, with ACCA’s Handbook J (load calculations) and Handbook D (residential ductwork design) as pointers.

Correct sizing is vital, Allgood mentioned, for a heat-pump system to work proper.

“If a brand new warmth pump set up is outsized for the cooling mode, it may, the truth is, cool the area too shortly — leading to lack of dehumidification and an uncomfortable surroundings for the occupants,” he mentioned.

Caballero identified some variations in the best way warmth pumps present cooling within the Southeast in comparison with the Southwest. In additional sizzling and humid climate, resembling is typical in Southeastern states like Florida, each warmth pumps and air conditioners must work more durable to take away moisture from the air, which may have an effect on their effectivity, he mentioned.

“In sizzling, dry climates just like the Southwest, warmth pumps carry out effectively because of the decrease humidity degree. The drier air permits the system to function extra successfully in eradicating warmth from the indoors,” Cabellero mentioned. “In sizzling, humid climates like Florida, fashionable warmth pumps and air conditioners have been designed to take away moisture throughout the cooling course of. Nevertheless, excessive humidity ranges can typically make it difficult to attain the specified consolation ranges as effectively as in drier climates.”

On the subject of offering warmth, contractors mentioned, customers who’re changing a fuel furnace with a warmth pump must be instructed that the brand new system will warmth otherwise, softer, and extra slowly, than the furnace. Even within the Southern California desert, the place folks typically don’t use warmth throughout the daytime within the winter, some folks discover it arduous to surrender the extra intense warming they’re used to experiencing with a furnace.

“They do like that, you already know, blasting warmth that they know,” mentioned Judy Mueller-Hyde, director of operations at Hydes.

“The home nonetheless warms up with a warmth pump. It does it extra effectively,” mentioned Jones. “However a whole lot of the time, if individuals are used to that fuel furnace, the heating (is) lots faster.”

However, he added, these former furnace customers additionally see their utility prices go down.

“Most individuals which have a warmth pump are completely comfy with the warmth,” he mentioned.

“Warmth pump is a softer warmth. It doesn’t dry your pores and skin out,” mentioned Michael Hyde. “In order that’s an enormous plus.”

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