Posts Tagged ‘Heat Pumps’

The Benefits of Heat Pumps

Monday, December 26th, 2016

Beaverton, OR has its share of cold and rainy Christmas days, and yet our weather here isn’t quite so cold as it might be in the Midwest or East Coast. You need every advantage you can to trim bills and keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. If a new heater or HVAC system is on the agenda in the next few months, you might want to consider a heat pump, which combines the functions of heating and air conditioning into one. The system isn’t dissimilar to an air conditioner, but a few key differences combines some considerable benefits. (more…)

Own a Mobile Home? Consider a Heat Pump!

Monday, April 4th, 2016

Spring has arrived here in Tualatin, OR, and summer will be here before you know it. That makes this an ideal time to install a new air conditioning system in your home. Mobile home owners usually content themselves with box-mounted air conditioning units and space heaters, but those are incomplete systems at best. A better option can be found with a heat pump, which uses the principles of air conditioning to both heat and cool your home. They make a good fit for our Oregon climate, with its cool-but-not-too-cold winters, and for mobile home owners interested in heating and cooling options would be well-advised to give it a look. Recent benefits have made the process of doing so even easier. (more…)

Reasons to Consider a Heat Pump

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Heat pumps are a unique option when it comes to home heating systems. They operate in a way completely different from the more common furnaces and boilers that most homes use. Different doesn’t necessarily mean better, of course. Still, there are many reasons to consider installing a heat pump in your home. Let’s examine the reasons why a heat pump is worth your time.

What is a Heat Pump?

A heat pump is a device that moves heat from one area to another instead of creating it. Furnaces and boilers create heat by burning fuel, which can be quite expensive depending on the circumstances. A heat pump does not consume any fuel except electricity. Where, then, does it get its heat from?

A heat pump has two main parts, the interior and exterior units. When the heat is turned on, the exterior unit siphons thermal energy from the surrounding air. This thermal energy is then sent along a refrigerant line inside to the interior unit, where it is used to warm and circulate the air. By taking heat from the surrounding environment, the heat pump avoids the need to burn fuel.

Why should I Choose a Heat Pump

Because of the unique way that heat pumps operate, they garner a few advantages that other systems do not. First, heat pumps are extremely energy efficient. Due to the lack of need for combustible fuel, a heat pump system can save you a great deal of money on heating bills.

The second advantage has less to do with direct heating and more to do with the versatility of heat pumps. A heat pump is not only capable of heating, but cooling as well. The basic construction is very similar to an air conditioner, which takes heat from inside and pumps it outside. A heat pump can do this as well, but with the ability to switch functions to pump heat inside as well. This saves a great deal of cost and space, since you don’t need to install a separate unit just for air conditioning.

If you’re considering installing a new heat pump, call Clean Air Act today. We provide heating services throughout the Portland area.

Signs Your Heat Pump Needs Repairs

Monday, January 27th, 2014

For Portland’s weather, a heat pump is a great option for year-round comfort in your home. They can handle any level of heat with their cooling power, and our winter temperatures rarely drop to the extremes that will give their heating much trouble.

But a heat pump is only as good as the state of repair that it’s in. When your heat pump shows any signs of troubling behavior, you need to have professional repairs done on the double. We’ve put together a list of common warning signs of a heat pump that needs attention.

Call Clean Air Act for heating repair technicians in Portland, OR who can handle your heat pump issues.

Warning signs of heat pump problems

  • Ice developing along the coils: If you notice ice along the coil that is currently operating as the evaporating coil (indoor coil in cooling mode, outdoor coil in heating mode), then your heat pump could be suffering from one of two problems. There might be a refrigerant leak, in which case you will need repairs to find and seal the leak and then recharge the lost refrigerant. The second possibility is the coil has become too dirty to allow easy heat absorption, and this will require a technician to remove and clean the coil. Just scraping the ice off will not do any good. It will come back and continue to grow.
  • Grinding or clicking noises from the cabinet: Unusual noises from a heat pump cabinet are rarely good signs. The two most common warning noises are clicking and grinding. Clicking is usually a signal that one of the capacitors is on the edge of failing. (Capacitors transfer voltage to start the motors and keep them running.) Grinding tends to mean motors that have lost lubrication or become dirty and will soon burn out. In both cases, you’ll need a repair technician to replace the failing unit(s).
  • The heat pump remains stuck in one mode: If your heat pump refuses to cool or refuses to heat, then the issue is probably from the reversing valve. This valve allows refrigerant to change the direction of its flow through the unit, which is how the heat pump switches from heating to cooling. If the reversing valve malfunctions, the heater will remain in one mode. Call for repairs to have the reversing valve replaced.

You need professional repairs

Heat pumps are complex devices that require a precise balance of different systems—refrigerant loops, compressors, air handlers, motors, thermostats—to work accurately. Without special training and tools, it’s almost impossible to repair them. Amateur repairs are likely to do the opposite: cause further damage to the unit.

Put away the do-it-yourself kit and call up Clean Air Act. We have heating repair technicians in Portland, OR ready 24/7 to assist you.

Reasons to Install Amana Heat Pumps

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Although the heavy rainfall in Portland may sometimes dampen spirits, we should always keep in mind that in the Pacific Northwest we enjoy relatively mild winters compared to much of the nation. This weather is ideal for a heat pump, a comfort system that provides both heating and cooling. Heat pumps can handle the hottest days of a Portland summer without trouble, and the temperatures in winter rarely drop below a heat pump’s ability to provide warmth.

At Clean Air Act, we often suggest Amana heat pumps to many of our customers looking for heating services in Portland, OR. Here are some of the reasons we recommend them:

  • Heating energy efficiency: Heat pumps use electricity to run mechanical parts, unlike electric furnaces or boilers, which use electricity to directly warm up air or water. This means that heat pumps only use a fraction of the power of other electric systems. They use less power than gas, oil, and propane heaters as well. A family of 4 can save up to 30% annually off their heating bills with a heat pump. Amana offers some of the most high-efficiency models available, far exceeding the U.S. government’s requirements for the Energy Star label.
  • Variety of options: Amana makes numerous sizes and types of heat pumps to fit any space or heating/cooling budget. With knowledgeable installers trained on Amana models, you are almost guaranteed to find a system that will match your home’s needs and your energy-saving plans.
  • Environmentally friendly: Amana heat pumps use R-410A, a chlorine-free refrigerant, to move heat into or out of your home. These heat pumps have little negative impact on the environment and produce no ozone-depleting emissions.
  • Unit replacement warranty: Amana offers a lifetime limited warranty that will pay for parts and replacement for 10 years. If you have regular maintenance for your unit and all necessary repairs done on time, you can expect the heat pump to last even longer than that.

Get started with heat pump installation

Because of the variety of Amana heat pumps available, you’ll need the assistance of installation experts to help you make the choice for the unit that will give you optimal heating and cooling. Call Clean Air Act today and talk to our specialists in heating services in Portland, OR. You’ll soon be on your way to enjoying all the benefits above and many more from your Amana heat pump.

What Is an Air Source Heat Pump?

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Most heating systems have as their main component some sort of heat generator, such as a furnace. These machines generate heat through some form of combustion, which obviously converts energy directly to heat, which is then distributed throughout your Lake Oswego home. That’s a pretty simplified schematic explanation, but that’s more or less how most heating systems work.

Air source heat pumps are another type of heating solution; one that does not actually produce or generate any actual heat. There is no combustion. What an air source heat pump (ASHP) does instead is regulate the temperature of the home by essentially moving air around.

An air source heat pump use electricity to exchange indoor and outdoor air. Think of it like a more versatile air conditioner. In cooling mode, like an air conditioner, an ASHP will pump warm air from the inside out, using a system of refrigerant-filled coils and a compressor. By turning the ASHP to heating mode, the refrigerant flow is reversed, allowing the outdoor coils to extract heat from the outdoor air and pump it in higher concentrations to the inside.

If it seems like a simple system, that’s because it is. All the heat pump does is move heat either in or out, depending on what you need in the current season. Because this process generates no heat on its own, heat pumps can be very efficient. ASHP efficiency has been estimated at 150% to 300%, meaning that the heat energy produced is up to three times as much as the electricity used. That makes for a very efficient home heating and cooling solution.

Air source heat pumps are not necessarily right for every situation, however. In colder climates, where temperatures drop below 30 degrees Fahrenheit for stretches at a time, a heat pump will likely not be able to keep up on its own. In these situations, you may either need to supplement the ASHP with an additional heating source, or use a different system altogether. Newer so-called “cold climate” heat pumps may also be an option. Under ideal circumstances, an air source heat pump can act as a complete home heating system, as well as providing heat for hot water.

If you are looking for a simple and efficient home heating solution in Lake Oswego, look into whether an air source heat pump can work for you.

Most Commonly Asked Questions About Heat Pumps

Monday, November 28th, 2011

If you’re thinking about buying a new heat pump for your Gresham home, chances are you have some questions about these types of products and how they work. In fact, because these types of home comfort systems are relatively new to a lot of people, there are a quite a few misconceptions out there about how effective and efficient they can be.

Recently we’ve gotten some good questions from our readers, so we thought we’d like to pass along the answers so that others can benefit from the information as well.

If I Buy a Heat Pump, Do I Have to Buy an Air Conditioner Too?

That heat pumps are only able to heat your home is probably one of the biggest misconceptions about this type of equipment. Heat pumps work by extracting heat from the air in one place and transferring it to another. That means that in the winter, your heat pump is able to heat your home by taking heat from the outdoor air and moving it inside.

However, in the summer, the heat pump is able to do the same thing only in reverse. When you switch on your heat pump’s cooling function, it will be able to take the heat out of your indoor air and transfer it outside. In this way, the same heat pump system can keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer without you needing to purchase an air conditioner or other supplemental comfort systems.

If I Choose a Heat Pump System, Will I Also Need to Install Supplemental Heat?

That depends on what the climate is like where you live and how warm you like to keep your home. In general, heat pumps can keep any home comfortable as long as the outdoor temperature is above 32°F or so. If the temperature outside drops below that, you may want to have some type of supplemental heating system just in case. However, a heat pump will still be able to provide some warmth at these lower temperatures and you may be able to keep yourself comfortable with a simple space heater or two.

Also, remember that these colder temperatures are most common at night when you would probably have turned your heat down anyway. As long as you live in a relatively moderate climate, heat pumps can do a great job of keeping your home comfortable all year long.

Is Your Heat Pump Malfunctioning? (and Happy Halloween Weekend!)

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Happy Halloween weekend from everyone at Clean Air Act Inc.! We hope you have a fantastically spooky time! And since there is nothing more frightening than a broken heating system, here are some warning signs that your heat pump is malfunctioning.

In a perfect world, you would never have to worry about things like malfunctions or repairs. Everything would just work without ever needing to be maintained or fixed, and you could spend your time on energy on more enjoyable pursuits.

Unfortunately, no such perfect world exists. Things wear out and break down, often at the least opportune time. And of course, your heat pump is not immune. Despite being a great all around machine, a heat pump can malfunction, just like anything else.

But how can you know whether your heat pump is not working right? Here are some signs and symptoms that are often indicative of common heat pump problems:

  1. Too Much Noise – Whether emanating from your car or your usually quiet heat pump, noises are often the first sign that something is amiss. You should expect your heat pump to make some noise; the compressor and air handler are two culprits. However, if it starts making more noise than it did before, something may be up. Sometimes this is as simple as some loose fittings, but it’s still something that should be checked out.
  2. The House Is Too Cold – Obviously, if you get a heat pump to heat your house, you expect it to do just that. So, if your home is too chilly, you know something is amiss. If it’s way too cold, the heat pump may not be running at all, which can be the result of a serious malfunction. If it is only a few degrees below where you set it, it may be a different problem. It could be that something is malfunctioning in the heat pump, but it could also be that the outside air is too cold for the heat pump to keep the house warm. In that case, the best solution is supplemental heating.
  3. The Heat Pump Turns Off Too Soon – If your heat pump seems to be shutting off too quickly, it may be short cycling. That means that it is turning off before getting through its entire heating or cooling cycle. Frequently this is simply caused by dirt or debris around the outdoor coil, in the air handler or in the filter. Check these areas out and clean them. In general, you will want to keep the various components of your heat pump clean in order to ensure the best performance.

These are just some of the main symptoms of common problems. Other things can go wrong with your heat pump, although it is not very likely. As a general rule, if you notice your heat pump performing strangely or doing something it hasn’t done before, it’s best to get it checked out by a professional.

What kind of noise can I expect my heat pump to make?

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Whenever you’re looking into replacing your old home heating system or installing a new one in Canby, there are many different factors you’ll have to take into consideration. The amount of noise that the system you choose will make is certainly one of these. And in addition to the amount of noise that this system will make, you’ll also want to make a note of where the unit will be placed and so where the noise will be coming from.

While you may have had to worry a bit about the noise generated by heat pumps in the past, it’s not something you’ll have to take into consideration this time around. That’s because newer heat pumps are designed to be quieter than ever, providing the same heating and cooling power with only a fraction of the noise of some earlier models.

In fact, the only part of a heat pump that really makes any noise at all is the outdoor unit. Unless this needs to be located very close to your home or to a window of a room that you use often, chances are that you won’t even hear it at all.

However, if you live very close to your neighbors or don’t have a lot of outdoor space, you may have to put the outdoor unit close to the walls of your home. Even then, though, you’ll hardly notice the noise your heat pump makes. Years of research and redesigning have produced some of the quietest heat pumps yet and that’s what you’ll be buying if you’re in the market for one of these systems now.

Newer heat pumps have been tweaked and adjusted to minimize the amount of noise-generating vibrations they produce. In fact, you’ll probably find that most of these units make no more noise than your refrigerator. They’re efficient and quiet and can keep your home comfortable all year long.

How Efficient are Heat Pumps for AC and heating?

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Heat pumps are actually remarkably efficient when compared to some of the home heating alternatives out there in Portland. Especially if you’re already using electricity to heat your home, you can get generate huge savings on your monthly energy bills by switching to a heat pump system.

As their name suggests, heat pumps remove heat from the air and transfer that heat from one area to another. That means that in the winter, your heat pump will remove the heat from the air outside your home and pump that heat in to heat your home. During the summer months, that process is actually reversed, and heat pumps are able to cool your home by collecting the heat from your indoor air and pumping it outside.

Since heat pumps are actually just moving heat from one place to another rather than generating it all on their own, they don’t require much energy at all to operate. While you can buy furnaces that are as much as 97% energy efficient, they’re still using more energy than a heat pump would. The fact that the furnace is turning the vast majority of the energy that it uses into heat doesn’t mean that it still doesn’t require more energy to operate.

Just because heat pumps are more efficient than many other types of heating systems, you can’t just assume that all heat pumps are equally energy efficient. Just as different types and models of furnaces have different energy efficiency ratings, so too do the many types, sizes and models of heat pumps. Make sure you thoroughly compare your options before you settle on the right system for your home.

The energy efficiency rating of a furnace is easy to recognize, as each of them comes with a standard AFUE rating. If you’re looking to switch to heat pumps, however, it’s easy to get confused when you’re trying to compare the energy efficiency of various models.

Heat pumps actually have two separate measurements for energy efficiency. These are the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) and the heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF). Energy efficiency measurements for heat pumps reflect both the cooling and heating efficiency of the system, and so what’s best for you may vary depending on what you’re more likely to use your heat pump for. If you have any questions, contact your local contractor.