Heat Pump System Basics

Heat pumps circulate high pressure refrigerant through insulated copper pipes to transfer heat from indoors to outdoors in the summer and in reverse during the winter.

In Air Conditioning mode, heat is absorbed by the evaporator coil on the inside and released to the outside through the condenser coil.  This is typical of any refrigeration system.  Place your hand over the outdoor condenser and you can feel heat being discharged and the inside feels dry and cool.  In heating mode, the outdoor coil gets cold, and the indoor coil becomes warm.  This transfer of energy, produces 2-4 times as much as a resistive heater, for the same amount of power. This makes the heat pump the best choice for clean energy heating.

Standard Heat Pump VS Low Temperature Heat Pump

Air Source heat pumps draw energy from the air.  As the air temperature gets colder, less heat is absorbed by the outdoor coil. Today's standard air source heat pumps with inverter driven compressors are lot better at producing heat from the air at low temperatures.    When temperature falls to -5̊ C, the heat pump will still produce 75% of its maximum output.   

Low Temperature Heat Pump systems use bigger big coils combined with compressor over drive and liquid injection to ramp up the output as the temperature outside drops. It costs more than a standard heat pump and should have a few extra features.  Most are rated to run down to -30° C

Green Technology

By 2030, building codes in BC will require zero Green House Gases (GHG) footprint for all new construction. Electric heat pumps will likely be the only option for heating and cooling. The electricity produced in BC is mostly Hydro-electric and has a very low GHG foot print.  When compared to natural gas, electric wins. Many renewable sources of energy that are free of fossil fuels and are coming on line every day and will be the preferred source of heating.

Expect to see Photovoltaics on the roofs and walls of buildings and homes. Photovoltaic is as a method for generating electric power, using solar cells to convert the Suns energy into a flow of electrons via the photovoltaic effect. Energy is captured by the Solar cells from the Sun.  The Solar cells can then generate an electric current from the energy that has been captured which then is used to power equipment or recharge a battery.