Ode to the Air-Source Heat Pump

In the distance, there is a soft humming of a compressor, the ticking of its meter, and the whirring of the fan.  The warm blanket of air envelopes the room.  The small metallic grating in the wall glints with polished cleanliness.  The faint scent, the very aroma, of money saved in your wallet perfumes the room.

 DRAMATIC A bit melodramatic?

 Yes, well it can’t be helped. When one begins to imagine heating a home efficiently with an Air-Source Heat Pump, the senses simply ignite with excitement.

 Much to our chagrin, most folks are caught unaware that efficient household heating and cooling can be achieved with Air-Source Heat Pumps (ASHP).  Ductless, air-to-air, ducted, mini-split, are a few of the flavors of ASHP.  The variety of ASHP products all adhere to the same process. ASHP products transfer heat, instead of burning fuel to produce heat. Much like a refrigerator in reverse, refrigerant absorbs outside heat and releases it in the interior of the structure.  Once the heat has been distributed to the house, the refrigerant flows back outside and repeats the process.  In fact, most ASHPs can be run in reverses to function as an air conditioner, moving heat from the interior to the exterior.

Behold, the Air Source Heat Pump A look into the Air Source Heat Pump process.

 Although many home owners can save energy and money, keep in mind, ASHPs are not right for everybody.

 For example, in cold-climates only certain ASHPs will continue to operate effectively in freezing conditions.  Purchasing ASHP devices require proper research and preparation.  If the situation is favorable, compared to baseboard or electric resistance heating, ASHP are vastly more efficient. They can deliver one-and-a-half to three times more heat energy than electrical energy consumed.  Coupled with incentives in most Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States, especially for ENERGY STAR certified products, the prospect of efficient household heating with ASHP has garnered attention across the region.

 In response to this opportunity, Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP) has launched an ASHP project with the ultimate goal of accelerating the uptake of this efficacious technology.  This forthcoming strategy report titled, “Northeast / Mid-Atlantic Air-Source Heat Pump Strategy Report”, will guide a regional approach to transform the market. With this effort, we can have highly efficient and high performing electrical HVAC solutions.

 Uptake of new ASHP technologies ultimately depends on one thing, the needs of consumers. Those with net-zero homes will find ASHP a key part of their solution, as they integrate nicely with Solar PV.  Those interested in making a financial investment will find cost-benefit analyses in their favor.  And those interested in the environment will find improvements to indoor and outdoor air quality.

 The bottom line – regardless of the technology, the comfort, the cost savings, or the reduction in carbon emissions – is that ASHPs can play a major role in revolutionizing household heating across the region.

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