Heat pumps designed for use in frigid environments
While heat pump technology boasts a number of positive attributes, including low operational costs and minimal environmental impact, the question remains as to whether or not such a system can function dependably in frosty climates.
In fact, heat pumps can be a useful choice even in chilly regions, despite common belief to the contrary. Our team at Superior CO-OP HVAC is well-versed in the installation of heat pump systems for buildings in colder climates, including multi-family dwellings, places of worship, private residences, and businesses. We’ve completed a large number of jobs thanks to Mitsubishi Electric’s cutting-edge ASHPs, which are designed to work effectively in cold climates.
More than 60 percent of households in Norway, where January averages 21 degrees Fahrenheit, use heat pumps, compared to 30 percent worldwide and 7 percent in the United States in 2010. This pattern can also be seen in the United States, where states with colder climates, such as New York, Massachusetts, and Maine, are providing financial incentives to residents who choose to implement such technology.
Here we’ll go over some of the technical advancements that have made it possible for heat pumps to function effectively and efficiently even in chilly climates. If you’re ready to upgrade to a more efficient heating and cooling system, an ASHP is a good option that can pay for itself quickly while also making your tenants more comfortable.
If you live in a cold climate, you can save a lot of money on heating costs by switching to a heat pump.
A Functional Explanation of Heat Pumps for Cold Environments
Most households use heat pumps that draw heat from the surrounding air. Outside air is used as a heat source or heat sink by these systems.
When in cooling mode, heat pumps employ the same mechanism as central air conditioners. A refrigerant is heated by the outside air when the systems are in heating mode. With the help of the ASHP, the refrigerant is compressed into a hotter gas. The heat is transferred inside and distributed via an indoor unit (or through ductwork, depending on the construction of the system).
When the refrigerant is considerably colder than outdoor temperatures, ASHPs can reliably provide heating. Cold climate heat pumps can achieve efficiencies of up to 400% in mild climates, meaning they generate four times as much energy as they use.
Needless to say, the heat pump will have to work harder to keep you warm if the temperature outside is lower. The system’s efficiency drops below a certain temperature. However, this does not imply that heat pumps cannot be used in sub-freezing weather.
Often called “cold weather heat pumps,” cold-climate heat pumps are able to function effectively in temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit thanks to their cutting-edge design. Some of those features are:
Substances Used to Chill an Air Conditioner in the Winter
The refrigerants and chemical compounds used in all air-source heat pumps are much colder than the ambient air. Heat pumps used in colder climates typically make use of refrigerants with a lower boiling point. These refrigerants are able to continue moving through a system and extract more heat energy from cold air, even when the surrounding temperature is quite low.
Engineering of Compressors
Compressors have been continuously improved by manufacturers over the past decade, resulting in a decrease in operating energy requirements and an increase in compressor longevity. In colder climates, heat pumps with variable compressor speeds are the norm. Compressors with a fixed speed are either “on” or “off,” which is inefficient in some situations.
Compressors with a variable speed motor can operate at a low fraction of their maximum speed in mild temperatures and increase to full speed in hotter conditions. These inverters draw the appropriate amount of energy to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature without resorting to an all-or-nothing strategy.
Diverse Optimization’s in Engineering
While the fundamental principle of how heat pumps work is the same, it can be made more efficient through a number of engineering tweaks. Reduced ambient airflow rates, increased compressor capacity, and improvements to the configuration of the compression cycle are all possible strategies for heat pumps operating in cold climates. Even in the cold Northeastern winters, when heat pumps operate nearly constantly, these types of improvements can greatly reduce energy bills if the system is properly sized for the application.
Heat Pumps for Cold Climates vs. More Conventional Boilers and Furnaces
The Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) is a rating for ASHP heating efficiency calculated by dividing the total heating output (in British Thermal Units, or BTUs) by the total energy consumption (in kWh) for the heating season (measured in kilowatt-hours). Greater efficiency can be indicated by a higher HSPF value.
In extremely cold environments, heat pumps can provide an HSPF of 10 or higher, transferring far more heat than they use. During the warmest months of the year, ASHPs can be switched to cooling mode, where they perform as well as (or better than) brand-new central air conditioners.
Toshiba Corporation, Toshiba Electric Technology, and Mitsubishi Electric Technology
Heat pumps with a high HSPF are resilient in the winter. Many cold climate heat pump models are completely efficient down to -20 °F, allowing them to reliably heat homes and businesses even in the coldest climates. In milder climates, ASHPs are more cost-effective to run than conventional heating and cooling methods because they require less electricity. In the long run, this means significant cost savings for building owners.
This is due to the fact that forced-air systems, such as natural gas furnaces, produce heat directly, rather than transferring it. Even the most inefficient heat pump system will be more efficient than a brand new high-efficiency furnace, which may only get a fuel utilization rating of 98%.
When considering the cost of a heat pump, how much money would be saved?
The experts at Superior CO-OP HVAC can give you a precise quote for your specific property, but as a general rule, heat pumps have a very high rate of return. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that air-source heat pumps can save large buildings thousands of dollars annually in heating costs by reducing electricity consumption by as much as 50 percent when compared to electrical furnaces and baseboard heaters.
Heat Pumps in Cold Climates: Important Considerations
Heat pump technology wasn’t always able to withstand the cold. No longer is this the case; heat pump use has increased rapidly in recent years in Norway, Sweden, and other Northern European countries with cold winters.
The adoption of technology in the United States has reached a tipping point. Energy.gov calls ASHPs a “legitimate space heating alternative in colder regions,” and the International Energy Agency estimates that U.S. heat pump shipments will rise from 2.3 million in 2015 to 3.4 million in 2020.
Costs Are Reduced For Our Clients
By replacing their old forced-air HVAC systems with high-HSPF air pumps, Superior CO-OP HVAC customers can expect annual savings of 20-70%. Consider these factors if upgrading:
Even though heat pumps for cold climates are designed to be as economical as possible, a properly designed and installed system will yield the greatest financial benefits. The efficiency of the system may be affected by factors such as the insulation level and the placement of the indoor unit.
Ductless heat pumps are more efficient than ducted systems because they transfer heat energy directly to living spaces. However, a ducted system may be less expensive to install in a building that already has ductwork.
Financial incentives for the use of renewable energy reduce the overall price of setup. Heat pumps with a particular HSPF rating are eligible for some rebates and incentive programs that are otherwise unavailable in colder climates.
Installing a heat pump in a cold climate is a great way to start saving money.
There are undeniable benefits for building owners from installing cutting-edge HVAC systems. Customers of Superior CO-OP HVAC can save as much as 70% on energy costs, and they also benefit from cleaner air, fewer tenant complaints, and reduced maintenance costs.