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It's interesting to know: Heat Pumps

Take into consideration a heat pump while exploring heating and cooling for a new house. It can ensure year-round climate control for your home by supplying heat to it in the winter and cooling it in the summer. There are some types, which can additionally heat water.

Altogether, using a heat pump alone to meet all your heating needs may not be economical. Meanwhile, used in conjunction with a supplementary form of heating, such as an oil, gas or electric furnace, a heat pump can provide durable and economic heating in winter and cooling in summer. Installing a heat pump may be an effective way to reduce your energy costs, if you already have an oil or electric heating system.

However, it is important to take into account all the benefits and costs before purchasing a heat pump. Additionally to looking at cost, you should consider other factors.

Heating And Cooling

A heat pump is an electrical device which provides heating from one place and transfers it to another. It’s not a new technology - it has been used in Canada and around the world for ages. For example, refrigerators and air conditioners.

Heat pumps transfer heat by circulating a substance called a refrigerant through a cycle of evaporation and condensation. A compressor pumps the refrigerant between two heat exchanger coils. In one coil, the refrigerant is evaporated at low pressure and absorbs heat from its surroundings. The refrigerant is then compressed en route to the other coil, where it condenses at high pressure. At this point, it releases the heat it absorbed earlier in the cycle.

An air-source heat pump absorbs heat from the outdoor air in winter and rejects heat into outdoor air in summer. Nowadays, it is the most well-spread type of heat pump found in Canadian homes.

Heat Pump Elements

The refrigerant is the liquid/gaseous substance that circulates through the heat pump, alternately absorbing, transporting and releasing heat.

The reversing valve controls the direction of flow of the refrigerant in the heat pump and changes the heat pump from heating to cooling mode or vice versa.

A coil is a loop, or loops, of tubing where heat transfer takes place. The tubing may have fins to increase the surface area available for heat exchange.

The evaporator is a coil in which the refrigerant absorbs heat from its surroundings and boils to become a low-temperature vapour. As the refrigerant passes from the reversing valve to the compressor, the accumulator collects any excess liquid that didn't vaporize into a gas. Not all heat pumps, however, have an accumulator.

The compressor squeezes the molecules of the refrigerant gas together, increasing the temperature of the refrigerant.

The condenser is a coil in which the refrigerant gives off heat to its surroundings and becomes a liquid.

The expansion device lowers the pressure created by the compressor. This causes the temperature to drop, and the refrigerant becomes a low-temperature vapour/liquid mixture.

The plenum is an air compartment that forms part of the system for distributing heated or cooled air through the house. It is generally a large compartment immediately above or around the heat exchanger.

Advantages of an Electric Heat Pump

Electric heat pumps provide an efficient system for heating and cooling your home.

During colder seasons, it provides warmth not by convert electricity directly into heat, but rather by absorbing the heat from the atmosphere or ground, multiplying it and then transferring heat to the home.

During warmer weather, the pump functions as an air conditioner. It transfers heat from the house and creates a cooling effect throughout. This process saves on energy usage for air conditioning.

These systems are much cheaper to use than those fueled by natural gas and do not generate dry air when heating. This spares you from having to use a humidifier to combat the dry air as is the case with furnaces.

The pump also provides uniform heating for the home. You will not experience frequent temperature fluctuations, as associated with other systems. Electric pumps are also quiet and comfortable to use. The air compressor is usually placed outside the building and helps to keep noise levels low. Other heat pump types can produce a lot of noise when in use.

How does it work?

Think of a heat pump as a heat transporter constantly moving warm air from one place to another, to where it’s needed or not needed, depending on the season. Even in air that's seems too cold, heat energy is present. When it's cold outside a heat pump extracts this outside heat and transfers it inside. When it’s warm outside, it reverses directions and acts like an air conditioner, removing heat from your home.
One advantage of a heat pump is that it moves heat instead of generating heat, giving you more energy efficiency. Also, it is powered by electricity, so you can save substantially on fuel consumption. For example, a Trane XL20i heat pump is among the HVAC industry’s most efficient, with a rating up to 19.00 SEER and 9.00 HSPF .
Note that heat pumps are best for moderate climates, and a supplemental heating source may be needed for lower temperatures. As a year-round solution for home comfort, Trane heat pumps can become a key part of your matched system. An independent Trane dealer can help you decide if a heat pump system is right for you.