Heat Pumps, Geothermal, Heat Recovery Ventilators

There are so many new products and technologies available to make your home more comfortable and energy efficient, it’s difficult for the average consumer to know where to start.  That’s where your experienced general contractor and hvac (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) professional can really help. 

In a nutshell, here is how these systems work:

Heat Pumps

Air Source – This type of heat pump draws warmth from the outdoor air and transfers it to your indoor environment.  Substantial heat can be extracted even at temperatures well below 0 degrees C.  Through a cycle of evaporation and condensation, the refrigerant in the unit extracts the heat from the outdoor air and transfers it to your home’s heating system. 

Two options include an “air to air” unit, located outside, which supplies a ducted forced-air handler in the home, while an “air to water” heat pump provides heat for a hydronic (in-floor water heating) system for distribution throughout the house.  Although the heat pump is run by electricity, its super-efficiency makes it a very attractive choice.

Ground Source – Also called geothermal or earth power.  This heat pump is located in the house rather than outside, but essentially functions similar to an air source unit.  Rather than drawing heat from the air, it extracts heat from the earth.  

There are two types of ground source systems – the vertical system runs piping in a well or bore hole, which can be several hundred feet deep.  The second type employs a buried system of piping which runs horizontally in a loop.  This requires a large, relatively flat area, therefore the vertical option is often used in urban areas.  As the earth’s temperature is virtually constant this system works particularly well in cold climates.

For more information:

http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/publications/infosource/pub/home/heating-heat-pump/booklet.pdf

http://www.bchydro.com/guides_tips/green-your-home/heating_guide/Install_A_Heat_Pump.html

Heat Recovery Ventilators

 HRV’s provide healthy indoor air quality without excessive energy use.  An hrv unit takes fresh outdoor air and exchanges it for stale indoor air.  An outdoor vent brings air into the unit where it is filtered and bypasses warm air being drawn from inside the house.  The heat from the extracted air warms the incoming fresh air being distributed throughout the house.  These units can be attached to a forced air system, or ducted separately, typically installed in new construction, or major renovations.  They are easy to maintain and ensure a constant supply of fresh air in your home.

http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/residential/personal/new-homes/r-2000/standard/how-hrv-works.cfm