Air Source Heat Pump & Ground Source Heat Pump Systems
HEAT PUMPS: Revitalise Your Home with an Energy and Cost Saving Heat Pump System
The prices of just about all forms of fuel are rising these days, whether it’s the price per kilowatt of electricity, natural gas, propane, or heating fuel. But no one wants to live in a home that’s simply too cold in the winter, or too blazing hot in the summer. Unfortunately, getting our homes into a temperature range that is comfortable is often a pricey prospect. Heating is always expensive, and there’s simply no such thing as a truly inexpensive air conditioner.
But that doesn’t actually have to be the case. For over a hundred years there has been a basic technology that has existed that can take the place of these forms of heat. The technology hasn’t always been well understood, and where it was, the ability to use it on a small enough scale hadn’t quite been developed yet. But in that span of time from its inception till now, there have been great leaps and bounds in heat pump technology that have served to make it more compact, more efficient, and all of this coming at a time when we need relief from our heating and cooling bills most.
How Heat Pump Systems Work
This solution, of course, is heat pumps. Heat pumps operate under a very basic concept; rather than generating heat, these systems merely take the heat from one location, and transport it to another. The mechanism by which this takes place is fairly straightforward, and is buried deep in the fundamental laws of thermodynamics. All that needs to be understood by the layman, however, is that heat will naturally move from a warmer location, to a cooler one.
Utilizing this very simple concept, a liquid will be passed through a series of systems built into the mechanism known as a heat pump, and will either pull heat from the ambient air outside, and dump it into the cooler environment in the home, or perform this process in reverse.
Contrary to what one might expect, this doesn’t always result in the outside and inside being the same temperature. It is a foible of nature that you can extract heat from any system that isn’t at absolute zero, and no matter what the wind-chill factor may be, this is a level of ‘cold’ you have never been.
There are a number of different heat pump systems available, the best one for you would largely be determined based on your needs and overall location. We’ll start with the most basic of these, the air source heat pump.
Air Source Heat Pump
Air Source Heat Pumps function under the very basic principle mentioned above, transferring the heat from the ambient air outside, into the building you wish to heat. Using a reversal of this process, they can successfully cool the same space. There is an optimum temperature range they can operate in, but unless you live in an area prone to very hot or very cold weather patterns, you can expect that this will do a decent job for you. Like all heat pump systems, air source heat pumps can be used to heat the air, take some of the strain off your water heater, or even be used to heat your radiant flooring. Their efficiency is such that electric, gas, even propane is simply no match for the low cost of conditioning your home that these systems provide.
Heat Pumps Systems in Business
If you run a business, there are other ways air source heat pump systems can benefit you. In those industries that produce a lot of excess heat and then vent it off to the outdoors, a rare opportunity is provided. By installing this system in or near your exhaust vent, you start taking advantage of a variant known as ‘Exhaust Source Heat Pump’. You essentially are using this to capture the waste heat of your building, and are pumping that heat into the areas its needed most. Imagine the money you can save using the heat pushed out by your driers in an industrial Laundromat to heating the water going back into the washers?
Got a restaurant where the grills are always running? Well rather than paying expensive heating bills to keep your customers cozy, transfer that heat back into the dining area without the attendant grease and smell. No reason to let all that heat go to waste out the vents when it can increase your bottom line by lowering your heating bills!
Ground Source Heat Pump
Ground Source Heat Pumps take grand advantage of the tendency of the earth to hold onto heat for long periods of time. Truth be told, the earth holds onto temperature in general, it is slow to heat, and slow to cool. It is this tendency that makes it perfect as a source of temperature exchange for a heat pump!
Ground source heat pump systems are far more elaborate than the air source heat pumps mentioned above. They involve deep trenches being dug where special coils are laid and buried below the frost line. Either that, or you’ll need to run pipes up to 400 feet down into the ground using special boring techniques. Once done, however, you can take full advantage of one of nature’s neatest tricks! The earth in any given area, once you’ve gone down about 30 feet, has a tendency to stay at the mean-temperature for that latitude of the earth year round. This means if you have hot summers and cold winters, you’ll find yourself in a perfect position to have a nicely moderate home the rest of the year.
Ground Source Heat Pumps vs Air Source Heat Pump Systems
Ground source heat pump systems can also use large bodies of water such as lakes or rivers, or even deep stone wells to take advantage of the thermal exchange that can happen there. These tend to be much more efficient than the air source heat pump systems, as they have a much larger mass to draw on with a much more stable temperature range.
Ground source heat pump systems can be used for the same sorts of heating and cooling as the air source heat pump systems. By tying these into your heating and cooling systems, using them to heat the water for your domestic use, or even keep you radiant floors nice and toasty, you’re limiting the amount of expensive electricity you need to use to air condition your home.
Saving Money with Heat Pump Systems
Both of the above heat pump systems can be used in just about any location you can think of to help save money. But the one thing that both of them have in common that can result in huge savings, is their cost over time. These both involve a larger initial investment than you may find in electric or gas powered heating/cooling systems, but in both cases the monthly power expenditure is so low that you’ll find yourself saving the cost of the system in your power bills in short order. In the life of the system, it can pay for itself multiple times!
This is especially true because both of these heat pump systems tend to lack the maintenance required of more traditional systems, and have a life-span well in excess of 20 years in most cases. All in all there is no better way to save money in the long run than to have one of these heat pump systems installed. So whether it’s to heat your home, or to save money keeping your outbuildings warm without the need of expensive new stand-alone heating systems, heat pumps are a fantastic way to help you save money. Not only that, but while you’re saving that money, you’ll be shrinking your carbon footprint.
That last point will be our last pro-tip of the night. If you run a business that produces a large carbon footprint, utilizing these heat pump systems will reduce that footprint, and might even give you some carbon credit left aside to sell on the open market. Not only will you save money on electricity, but you can make it by trading away those carbon credits! Truly a win-win situation!