Posts Tagged ‘Heat Pump’

Which Forced-Air Heater Should I Install?

Monday, October 15th, 2018

heating-repair-optionsDo you know anyone in Portland, OR with a boiler? It’s not like they’re impossible to find, but they’re not all too common, either. Instead, you’ll find that forced-air heaters are much better suited to the needs of a typical Portland homeowner. They’re quite effective and don’t require a huge sum of money to install.

Of course, even forced-air heaters vary amongst each other, on everything from price to function. We’ll help clear the air on the differences, so you can make a more informed installation or replacement when that time comes.

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Need a New Heater? Consider a Heat Pump

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

Fall has officially arrived in the Portland, OR area, and that means you’ll soon have need of a heating system to keep your home warm during the cold winter nights. If you have an older heater, replacing it may be a good idea, lest it break down on you in the middle of a cold front, and if your air conditioner’s warranty has expired, you may need to consider a new AC as well. Either way, it pays to make a heat pump a possible replacement from both. They provide a number of benefits over other kinds of heating and cooling, and they make a particularly good fit for homes in our part of the country. (more…)

Heat Pumps Perform Two Jobs in One

Monday, August 15th, 2016

Late summer is a good time to perform an assessment of your older air conditioner and determine if a replacement is in order once the summer turns to fall. It’s also a good time to evaluate your heating situation before the temperatures drop here in Oregon City, OR. In both cases, you would do well to consider a heat pump as a possible option. Though not right for every home, they offer a number of advantages, including combining the effects of a heater and an air conditioner into one single system, Here’s a quick breakdown about how they work. (more…)

3 Reasons There’s Ice Forming on Your Heat Pump

Monday, February 15th, 2016

It gets cold here in Portland, OR this time of year, and it’s natural to assume that ice will form on the outdoor part of your heat pump just like it does everywhere else. In point of fact, however, ice on the heat pump can be a big problem, and it might not be the weather that’s to blame. Of the ice seems excessive or you witness a corresponding loss of heat or similar problem accompanying its appearance, you should shut off your system and call in a trained professional right away. Here are three reasons there’s ice forming on your heat pump, most of which need a technician to correct. (more…)

Benefits of a Heat Pump

Monday, January 11th, 2016

A heat pump is a wrinkle on the traditional notion of air conditioning systems, which circulate refrigerant in a close loop. AC systems first vent hot air outside your home, then lower the temperature of air inside the system before blowing it into your home with a fan. Heat pumps similarly offer a “reversible” variation of that cycle: allowing you to heat the home as well as cool it with just the flick of a switch. Heat pumps are more expensive than traditional air conditioners, but provide a number of benefits that Portland, OR residents would do well to consider. Here’s a few of them laid out for you. (more…)

The History of Heat Pumps

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Thermal energy is the natural movement from warm temperatures to colder temperatures creating energy in the change of temperature to the mass.  A heat pump typically is a device that moves the air (or other matter) in the opposite direction from its natural flow.

A heat pump often uses an intermediate fluid called a refrigerant which absorbs heat as it vaporizes and releases the heat when it is condensed,  using an evaporator to absorb the heat (or energy) from inside an occupied space and forcing this heat to the outside through the condenser. The key component that makes a heat pump different from an air conditioner is the reversing valve which allows for the flow direction of the refrigerant to be changed, allowing the heat to be pumped in either direction.

Timeless Technology

While mechanical movement of this energy, what we can actually call a pump,  has been a relatively recent invention,  the concept of this principal of physics has been in use since ancient times. Harnessing the power of geothermal energy (produced from the heat of the earth itself), natural hot springs “pumped” warm air into cool spaces in China and Europe thousands of years ago.

By 1852, Lord Kelvin had theorized the heat pump, but it took nearly 100 years to actually build one.  In the last half century, the technological advances have made heat pumps part of our lives in many ways.

First Pump

In the 1940s a man named Robert Webber was motivated to build the first known heat pump while tinkering with his refrigerator.  Accidently burning his hand on the outlet pipes of the cooling system, he was quite painfully awakened to an idea about the transference of heat.

Recognizing the freezer was constantly producing heat to cool its interior, he connected the outlet pipe to the storage tank of his hot water heater, extended that into a flow through pipes which heated air nearby, and  then used a fan to blow the warmth into another room.

The first heat pump was a crude, but effective method to provide comfort.  Creating a full-size version soon after, Wagner could heat his entire home.

Heat and Electricity

Today Portland heat pumps are built in many ways and shapes to heat or cool buildings of many sizes.  Combined with geothermal forces close to the Earth’s surface or potentially  deep within its fiery core, heat pumps are able to energize the turbines that can produce huge amounts of electricity

As technological improvements are refined during this time of climate change and dwindling fossil fuels, heat pumps promise to play an important part in our futures.

If you are interested in having a heat pump installed in your home, call Porland HVAC professionals Clean Air Act Inc.!

 

Rhododendron Heat Pump Question: When Do You Need a Backup Heating System?

Friday, January 27th, 2012

A backup heating system is sometimes necessary for Rhododendron homeowners who heat their homes with an air-source heat pump. This style of heat pump transfers the heat from the outside air to your home in the winter, and it pushes the warm air outside the home in the summer. Although some systems are efficient enough to work in colder climates, most heat pump systems require a backup heater when temperatures drop below 20° F.

Furnaces are commonly used as a backup heater for air-source heat pumps, especially since the furnace fan blower can help distribute the hot air throughout the home. Although they are more expensive to buy and install, geothermal heat pumps typically do not require a backup heating system. These are also called ground-source or water-source heat pumps since they draw in heat from the ground below the house or from a nearby water source. Because they take advantage of the ground or water temperatures, they are also easier to maintain and have lower operating costs.

Getting the most cost-efficiency from a geothermal heat pump will depend on several factors, such as the size of your property, the temps of the subsoil, and access to local water sources. You will most likely not have to install a backup heating system with a ground-source or water-source heat pump; however, it is important to think about the installation costs and the variables that need to be in place before deciding on this type of heat pump.

Absorption heat pumps use a heat source, such as natural gas or solar-heated water, instead of electricity. Natural gas is typically used for absorption heat pumps, so they are also called gas-fired heat pumps. Depending on the source of the heat, you may or may not need a backup heating system. It’s always best to speak to a professional heating and cooling contractor if you are not sure when it’s necessary for a backup heating system.

Call The Clean Air Act Inc. if you have any questions about a backup heater for your Rhododendron home.

Troubleshooting Your Problematic Heat Pump

Friday, January 6th, 2012

If your Gladstone home’s heat pump isn’t working properly, there are a number of things that might be wrong. But, where do you start and how do you solve these problems quickly and inexpensively? Here are some tips for common heat pump problems.

Low Air Flow

Your heat pump is designed to provide steady air flow to the entire house. When it was originally installed, the technician sized it to do so. If it suddenly stops providing enough air flow to your entire house or if the air flow it provides isn’t as comfortable as you’re used to, something is probably wrong.

More specifically, there is likely an issue with the heat pump itself since the device will compensate for most external problems by running longer and harder. A quick inspection will often rule out serious problems, so you should have someone inspect your device as soon as you notice a problem.

Leaky Duct

If there is an external problem, such as leaky ductwork, it tends not to be as noticeable right away. Often, when ducts are leaking, air flow problems will occur only in certain rooms of your home. Even then, the heat pump might be able to maintain the right temperature in those rooms – you’ll just have a higher energy bill because of the energy loss in the ductwork.

The best way to determine what is happening and how best to tackle the problem is to have someone test your ductwork for leaks, a relatively quick process.

High Energy Bill

If your energy bill suddenly increases dramatically, it is usually due to energy loss somewhere in the transfer between the heat pump and the rooms of your home. Leaky ducts can be the culprit, but so too can the air handler or the heat pump itself. If you notice a sudden increase in your energy bill, look for other symptoms like uneven heating or cooling in certain parts of your home or noises coming from the ductwork or your air handler.

No matter what other symptoms accompany the increase, you probably need repairs. Your home may still be comfortable now, but the heat pump can only make up for the problem for so long and in the interim, it is being put under excessive stress that reduces its lifespan.

How to care for your heat pump filter

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

On the whole, heat pumps are efficient, durable and effective to have in your Estacada home. They are built to run all year round without needing any more maintenance than your average furnace or air conditioning system and they have an average lifespan comparable to those other types of home comfort systems as well.

That’s not to say that there aren’t things you can do to keep your heat pump in good working order, however. Keeping up with the professional maintenance visits is an important step to take along these lines to be sure, but there are also some other things you can do on your own as well to help ensure the continued efficiency and health of your heat pump system.

Proper filter care is an important part of keeping your heat pump working the way it should. If you don’t have a heat pump yet but are thinking of getting one, make sure you have the installation technician show you where the filter is located and how to replace it.

If your system’s already been in place for some time, you can still find out how to care for the filter from your annual maintenance technician or you can probably even find it on your own by taking a close look at your heat pump. The filters are meant to be removed on a regular basis so they’re typically not hard to get to. However, you should always be sure that all of the power to your heat pump is turned off before you open it up to try and find, replace or clean the filter.

Most heat pump filters are meant to be changed or cleaned about once every 90 days or so. However, the specific requirements for each system can vary considerably, so you should be sure to find out what is recommended for the model of heat pump that you have.

Also, you’ll want to know what type of filter you have so that you can purchase the appropriate replacement. The model number for each filter should be clearly printed on it, so simply slide your current filter out and make note of the number so that you can purchase the correct type as a replacement.

Most heat pumps have replaceable filters, but some still do have permanent filters that are meant to be cleaned and then returned to service. If you have one of these types of filters, be sure to read the instructions for cleaning carefully before proceding.

Heating Guide: Heat Pump Load Calculation

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

When purchasing a heat pump, the first thing you should do is determine what type of heat pump you want and how big it needs to be to provide ample heating and cooling to your Hillsboro home. If you’re unsure what you need, here are some tips to size a heat pump for your home’s particular needs.

The Importance of Sizing

Before buying anything, consider the cost of an oversized heat pump. A lot of homeowners opt for the biggest device on the market, but they don’t realize that they’re paying more than necessary for their device. An oversized device cycles on and off more often than is necessary and wears down much faster, resulting in an increased electric bill and faster wear on the device. It’s not good for your heat pump or your wallet.

How to Size

To correctly size a heat pump, the first step is to perform a load calculation. This is done by measuring the total volume of the rooms being heated (in cubic meters) and then determining the heating factor based on the type of insulation used.

There are different measurements depending on the type and R-rating of your insulation. For example, a single external wall without any additional insulation has a heating factor of 15. The number of external walls, the insulation in those walls and/or the ceiling and the rating of the insulation will determine the total heating factor for the room.

You will then divide the room volume by the heating factor to determine the number of KW (converted to BTUs) needed to heat that particular room.

Professional Sizing

The reason it is so important to call a professional is that certain things, like poorly insulated windows, cracks in the foundation, leaks in the ducts and other issues can have an impact on the overall heating factor measurement. Additionally, the type of heat pump you choose must be effective when connected to an air handler for your entire home. A professional can make these measurements and ensure the right sized device is selected.

If you’re unsure about anything related to sizing and selecting a new heat pump for your home, call a professional in. They will perform a full load calculation and present your options for a new heat pump based on those calculations.