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  • FIRST POST
    • richardc1983
    • By richardc1983 4th Feb 09, 2:03 AM
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    richardc1983
    Air to Air Heat Pumps/Air Con - Full Info & Guide
    • #1
    • 4th Feb 09, 2:03 AM
    Air to Air Heat Pumps/Air Con - Full Info & Guide 4th Feb 09 at 2:03 AM
    With all the posts ongoing here regarding heat pumps etc I have decided to start a new post I have put together with information on reverse cycle air conditioning (heat pumps), where people can ask questions, chat about heat pumps, discuss experiences, installs, electricity usage & anything else heat pumps related.
    Theres a lot of info here to take in, please do read it all as this may just


    How does it work?

    It's actually quite simple. Air conditioners work in much the same way as your refrigerator except there are two separate, but integral, parts to the system. There is an outside unit housing the compressor that is similar to the exterior back of your fridge. It draws warmth from the outside air in even the coldest of weather. That warmth is then transferred inside the home using a refrigerant process through a piping system powered by an indoor fan unit that is typically mounted to the wall. This is why the system is also often referred to as a heat pump rather then air conditioning. Both are in fact the same. Similarly, in summer, the reverse happens. Warm air is drawn from the interior room and expelled by the outside unit.

    Heat Pumps are capable of transferring up to 4kW of heat into a space while only consuming 1kW of electrical energy. The energy efficiency of a heat pump will decreases as the temperature difference between inside and outside becomes greater, even at low temperatures a heat pump can provide 3 times as much heat as a normal electric space heater would provide with the same amount of electricity input. This makes Heat pumps extremely energy efficient.

    "Not all Heat Pumps are designed to continue working where temperatures fall below freezing point"

    The principle of air conditioning always comes down to the same:

    absorb energy in one place and release it in another place

    The process requires an indoor unit, an outdoor unit and copper piping to connect both. Through the piping the refrigerant flows from one unit to another. It is the refrigerant that absorbs the energy in one unit and releases it in the other.
    Cooling mode (Heating mode is the same but in reverse)

    1 Indoor unit
    A fan blows the hot indoor air over a heat exchanging coil through which cold refrigerant flows. The cold refrigerant absorbs the heat from the air and cooled air is blown into the room.
    2 Copper piping
    The refrigerant circulates through the units and the piping and takes the heat from the indoor unit to the outdoor unit.
    3 Outdoor unit
    Through compression, the refrigerant gas is heated and its boiling point increases. In the outdoor unit the obtained heat throught compression is released to the outdoor air by means of a fan which blows the outdoor air over a heat exchanging coil.
    4 Refrigerant
    The liquid refrigerant flows back to the indoor unit.
    5 Indoor unit
    Back in the indoor unit, the refrigerant is decompressed and thus enabled to extract heat form the indoor air.



    Comparison of 2400w fan heater & Heat Pump Running Costs:

    http://www.bdt.co.nz/comfortmaster/data/guides/WinterRunningCostsComparison.pdf - this is for Mitsubishi Electric but savings made on other manufacters however these will vary.

    Inverter Technology:

    Here's some info about inverters, the same applies across all manufacturers however efficiency levels are different but the operation side of things is the same. There is an article at the bottom from Mitsubishi Electric where they have done a comparison test for a fan heater and heat pump. This is not unique to Mitsubishi Electric, similar costs will be seen across all heat pumps... its a very efficient technology. Different manufacturers will have different efficiencies. The best manufacturers are Mitsubishi Electric, Daikin, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Fujitsu, Sanyo, LG, any other manufactures are entry level and will not offer as good quality systems or efficiencies.

    Inverter systems save energy by using a variable controlled Compressor. The output is controlled to only provide the energy required to keep the room to the set temperature. By reducing the output required less power is used and this substantially reduces power consumption. Inverter control not only saves you money but also keeps you more comfortable.


    Inverter System or Fixed Speed System?

    What is a Fixed Speed Split System?

    This system only has a single speed compressor motor that is either on or off.

    It works similar to a fan heater that switches off when the desired temperature is reached and on again when the temperature drops to a set level. It speeds up or slows down to calculate the heat loss from the space to be heated ensuring it is only putting in the same amount of heat that the space is losing.

    What does Inverter Mean?

    Inverter technology uses a variable speed compressor motor similar to a car. It simply slows down and speeds up as needed to hold a selected comfort setting.

    Inverter technology provides a more precise room temperature without the temperature fluctuations of fixed speed systems.

    Inverter vs Fixed Speed:

    Inverter Systems are Approximately 30% more efficient than fixed speed systems.

    Inverter systems reach desired room temperature quicker.

    The speed control of the outdoor unit also means quieter operation, this is important especially at night in residential areas.









    Inverter Systems
    • Increased output to achieve set temperature faster.
    • Then varies the output to maintain a constant room temperature.








    Fixed Speed Type
    • Slowly gets to temperature as output rating is fixed.
    • Then turns on and off to maintain room temperature.
    Sizing of units:

    Read the following guide for sizing info: Excuse the references to Australia and New Zealand this contains useful info:

    http://www.bdt.co.nz/comfortmaster/data/guides/heatpump_sizing_quideline.pdf


    What type of unit is best suited for your property:

    Heat Pumps / Air Conditioners are manufactured with various indoor unit options. High Wall Type, Ceiling Cassette Type, Floor Mounted Type, Concealed Ducted Type, and Under Ceiling Type.


    High Wall-mounted

    The most popular residential unit choice. These units tend to be the quietest as well as taking up no floor space.

    Compact Floor Console

    The floor mounted are more designed for heating applications. They are ideal for space heater or gas fire/fireplace replacement. They can be recess mounted into the wall cavity giving a shallow profile for hallway installation.

    Ceiling Cassette

    The ceiling mounted units take up no floor space. These units have four way air direction and have adjustable air flow patterns. These units are more suited to larger floor areas & commercial properties.

    Ceiling Concealed (Ducted)

    These units are mounted in the ceiling space and are unseen in the conditioned space. The only visible presence is the supply and return air grilles.

    Ceiling Suspended

    These units are more suited to high stud large room areas. They tend to have high airflows and are more suited to commercial applications.

    Multi-Split Systems








    Multiple Indoor Units can be Connected to a Single Outdoor
    • Connect from 2 to 8 Indoor Units
    • Many Combination Patterns to choose
    • Energy Saving and Quiet Operation
    • Five Multi-Split Systems from 6.4kW to 16.0kW (Heating)
    Inverter Multi-Split system models are designed to allow several indoor units (regardless of capacity or type) to be connected to a single outdoor unit. This allows you to select the model best suited to each and every room in your property.


    Example: 3x Bedrooms and 1x Office

    ~


    Location of units:

    Indoors:

    Don’t locate units with obstructions in front.

    Result:


    Short cycling of air back to units room sensor making the unit think its wamer/cooler than it actually is.
    Air is not circulated correctly leaving cold/hot areas in room.

    Try to locate the indoor unit where the airflow is pointing to the other areas of the house that may require residual heating/cooling.

    Outdoors:

    Avoid paved areas unless a drain kit is fitted. Result: Units condensate and drip water. May cause slime build up or ice. If no other place please advise customer.

    Noise:
    Outdoor inverter units are very quiet and have scroll compressors, watch the following video and you will see mine in action:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mUzYHEfQEY


    Defrost Cycles & Correct Sizing of Outdoor Unit:
    Defrost will happen in all climates, however the lower the humidity the less frequent it will defrost as it takes longer for it to build up on the outdoor coil.

    You will probably not even notice it defrosting, if you buy a decent brand system you will find that the defrost strategy is very good so that it doesn’t take long to defrost.

    When they defrost you will find that the system goes into reverse, taking heat from the inside circuit to the outdoor unit so it defrosts. This will last about 5 minutes depending on how much ice has built up but you have to look at the unit to notice it doing it as it doesn’t start making things cold inside. The unit just doesn’t heat during that time.

    Some units in New Zealand or other countries that have very cold winters have units optimised for that country, i.e. defrost cycles instead of stopping and going into reverse will inject hot gas into the outdoor unit whilst the unit is heating so that it doesn’t actually stop heating. Currently can only find info on Sanyo air to air heat pumps in this country that do this... not sure of a system that does this on a unit that will provide this on hot water but you can see the technology is there. As I say you don’t need it in the UK climate our winters are not as harsh as some countries.

    The best method for new builds is under floor heating, nice even temps throughout, however longer warm up times due to the lower water temperature but if left on during cold weather you will be fine.

    I personally prefer fan coil units as these double up as cooling/ac for the summer and provide very fast warm up times.

    Most air to water outdoor units can be used with fan coil units... you just use a fan coil instead of a water coil in the floor.

    Mounting of unit... must be installed in the open, no enclosure, so no garages, lofts or corners the unit must be in the open air.

    A user in another post:

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.html?p=29040015#post29040015

    He installed it in the loft and it froze the loft in the cold weather and thawed and caused leaks into the house below, this happened twice and after this he decided to mount the unit outside and it performed better as it was effectively turning the loft into a giant fridge/freezer.

    Here’s some more info on heat pumps:



    Defrost Strategy

    When the outside temperature drops below zero all heat pumps must perform a “defrost cycle” to remove ice build up on their outdoor coils.

    Defrost strategy is determined by individual Heat Pump manufacturers. These strategies vary greatly between brands. Older style Heat Pumps initiated defrost by a fixed time or coil temperature. This system was not efficient as it often caused Heat Pumps to defrost too often or effected performance by not defrosting often enough. Defrost cycle is required when the outdoor coil is too cold or covered in ice preventing heat transfer and unit performance.

    All Heat Pumps must defrost. heats pumps utilise a Fuzzy Logic software program, a form of Artificial Intelligence contained in the chip of the outdoor unit and typically lasts between 3 to 5 minutes.

    The program measures and records:

    - Ambient Temperature
    - Outdoor Coil Temperature
    - Accumulated Continuous Heating Running Times
    - Defrost Initiation Time and Termination Times

    The program optimises this data based on history to produce defrost initiation only when absolutely required.

    This is important as Heat Pumps are unable to produce heat when they are in defrost mode. This is extremely important to real performance in low ambient conditions.

    Defrost Cycle Management

    Heat Pumps optimise its defrost cycle once selected in three ways:
    When the outside temperature drops below zero all heat pumps must perform a “defrost cycle” to remove ice build up on their outdoor coils.

    Defrost strategy is determined by individual Heat Pump manufacturers. These strategies vary greatly between brands. Older style Heat Pumps initiated defrost by a fixed time or coil temperature. This system was not efficient as it often caused Heat Pumps to defrost too often or effected performance by not defrosting often enough. Defrost cycle is required when the outdoor coil is too cold or covered in ice preventing heat transfer and unit performance.

    The program measures and records:

    - Ambient Temperature
    - Outdoor Coil Temperature
    - Accumulated Continuous Heating Running Times
    - Defrost Initiation Time and Termination Times

    The program optimises this data based on history to produce defrost initiation only when absolutely required.

    This is important as Heat Pumps are unable to produce heat when they are in defrost mode. This is extremely important to real performance in low ambient conditions.



    1. Compressor Control
    When a Heat Pump is defrosting it is not providing heat to the controlled space. It runs the compressor(inverter drive) at maximum speed during defrost to bring the outdoor coil up to temperature as quickly as possible. This melts any ice formed on the coil fins quickly and minimises defrost time. Minimising defrost time maximises heat output per hour real time.

    2. Dry Coil Defrost Cycle
    Once the outdoor coil is up to temperature and the compressor cycle has completed there is generally water between the outside coil fins. If the outdoor unit were to immediately resume heating the outdoor coil would freeze and prevent heat exchange. To prevent this the outdoor fan is run at maximum speed prior to resumption of the heating cycle. This is often characterized by steam blowing from the outdoor unit. This ensures the coil is completely dry before the heating cycle resumes.

    3. Time optimization through Fuzzy Logic
    Time between defrost cycles is continually being reviewed and optimized by the Heat Pump microprocessor software. Algorithmic calculations based on previous history is used to calculate the next defrost period.

    Fuzzy Logic or learning logic is a form of artificial intelligence. Defrost cycle termination is based on a combination of time and temperature. These parameters are used to calculate the next defrost period.

    Outdoor Humidity
    Outdoor humidity also effects heating performance. Areas that have a “dry cold” or low humidity such as “Mount Cook” will perform better at low ambient than say Taupo where ambient conditions can reach zero and “misty” moisture laden air conditions exists. The more moisture in the air the more moisture will freeze on the outdoor coil.

    Incorrect Unit Selection
    If a unit is selected that is too small the Heat Pump will run continuously and never reach set point. This continuous running will increase defrost requirements by reducing the outdoor coil running temperature and driving it into sub zero temperatures for excessive periods. The unit will defrost at the minimum intervals and may never catch up and achieve set point.

    Location of Outdoor Unit
    Location of the outdoor unit is essential for low ambient performance. Units located under houses, decking and in areas where airflow is impeded may create their own microclimate (i.e. giant fridge/freezer or in summer oven) and reduce the effective outdoor ambient temperature that the units operates in. Locating the outdoor unit too close to a wall and not observing clearances will also prevent the unit from delivering full output.


    Get the correct sized unit:
    Choosing the right sized Heat Pump is key to ensuring optimum comfort levels. Every home is as individual as its owner. The key to selecting the right Heat Pump for heating your home is choosing the correct unit size. Choosing the wrong size can cost you more in power consumption.


    Insulation and building orientation are key aspects in terms of potential heat loss a home is effected by. An older style home with poor insulation will lose indoor heat much quicker than a modern well insulated home that faces north.
    The quicker a home loses its heat, the bigger the Heat Pump system will need to overcome this heat loss.
    Last edited by richardc1983; 03-01-2011 at 4:00 PM.
Page 3
  • samtheman1k
    Yes, but what is 'enough air flow'? I wouldn't of thought a few air vents would be enough. Surely you'd need at least a cross section of vents equivalent to twice the cross section of the exhaust of the HP?

    Even so, it will lower the temperature in your loft, causing a greater temperature difference between the loft and the house, causing more heat loss though the ceiling.
    • richardc1983
    • By richardc1983 10th Mar 09, 1:56 AM
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    richardc1983
    I know but he has already pointed out that the loft remains warmer than the outside air even when the system is running constantly. So this loft must either have quite a high heat gain or there is a high airflow through it.

    I was thinking exactly the same as you Sam but the manufacturer actually states airflow ammounts in the manual.

    he has said that he monitors temps in the loft whilst the unit is on with a remote thermometer.
    • Andy_WSM
    • By Andy_WSM 10th Mar 09, 7:53 AM
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    Andy_WSM
    Hey guys, I'll let you know if I run into problems - I have nothing to gain or lose here, if it needs moving, so be it and I'll be the first to moan about it and let you know but at the moment it is working perfectly whether the temps be sub zero or double figures. This is new technology to us all, so someone needs to be a guinea pig! I've only done what the manufacturer said you can do - and it does what it says on the tin at the moment...

    This morning the loft is actually 0.5C colder than the outside temps, but that's not enough to make me worry again!

    Current temps: Outdoor 8.5C, Loft 8.0C, House, usual 22C.

    I did notice that the unit ran a lot less last night as it was mild out and the overall power consumption / cost for the past 24 hours is: 12KW/h = £1.35 (11p/kwh)
    • richardc1983
    • By richardc1983 10th Mar 09, 2:25 PM
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    richardc1983
    Andy I would make sure that your reading the temperature from the air inlet side of the unit where the coil is this will give an accurate reading as to whether the unit is short cycling cold air.

    Measure your outside temperature in the shade too.
  • paceinternet
    Very interesting installation by Andy_WSM.
    The tiled roof area, as well as the inevitable heat transfer through the upper floor ceiling, will have an effect of transferring heat into the loft space if it is being cooled by the heat pump.
    Anyone care to calculate how this could influence the operation?
    • Andy_WSM
    • By Andy_WSM 10th Mar 09, 9:12 PM
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    Andy_WSM
    Anyone care to calculate how this could influence the operation?
    Originally posted by paceinternet
    Someone feel free to do the maths.

    I heat the living area to 22C 24/7. I have cavity wall insulation, double glazing and 12" of loft insulation, excepting for a walkway through the loft which is only insulated to 6" for reasons of practicality. All pipes in the house & loft are insulated and the hot water tank is pre-lagged and wearing a jacket.

    Current outdoor temp tonight 7.5C, Loft temp 8.2C.
    Todays outdoor high 10.9C, Loft high 15.8C

    Cost of running heat pump today (reset 13 hours ago) = 75pence. I have had a shower and washed up the cats dishes in the kitchen, so used the best part of a tank of water
    Last edited by Andy_WSM; 10-03-2009 at 9:16 PM.
    • Andy_WSM
    • By Andy_WSM 10th Mar 09, 9:15 PM
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    Andy_WSM
    Andy I would make sure that your reading the temperature from the air inlet side of the unit where the coil is this will give an accurate reading as to whether the unit is short cycling cold air.

    Measure your outside temperature in the shade too.
    Originally posted by richardc1983
    I am pretty confident of my outdoor temps - in fact, I run a weather station

    I'll move the loft sensor on the weekend. I could even cable tie it to the back of the unit so that it is in the flow of air being drawn through the unit.
  • albyota
    Andy, just a thought, if your roof is well ventilated, (as is Mine) then on very windy days, where small fibres and dust get whipped up, what would stop the coil from eventually getting blocked...I'm sure youv'e thought of this.....
    There are three types of people in this world...those that can count ...and those that can't!

    * The Bitterness of Low Quality is Long Remembered after the Sweetness of Low Price is Forgotten!
    • Andy_WSM
    • By Andy_WSM 10th Mar 09, 9:51 PM
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    • 4,484 Thanks
    Andy_WSM
    Andy, just a thought, if your roof is well ventilated, (as is Mine) then on very windy days, where small fibres and dust get whipped up, what would stop the coil from eventually getting blocked...I'm sure youv'e thought of this.....
    Originally posted by albyota
    Thanks, I'll keep an eye on this. Probably no worse than the spiders webs, leaves and Seagull poo that gets picked up by my A/C unit outdoors Nothing a soft brush and Henry Hoover won't sort hopefully.
  • albyota
    Nuff Sed, cheers.
    There are three types of people in this world...those that can count ...and those that can't!

    * The Bitterness of Low Quality is Long Remembered after the Sweetness of Low Price is Forgotten!
    • richardc1983
    • By richardc1983 11th Mar 09, 12:44 PM
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    richardc1983
    I am pretty confident of my outdoor temps - in fact, I run a weather station

    I'll move the loft sensor on the weekend. I could even cable tie it to the back of the unit so that it is in the flow of air being drawn through the unit.
    Originally posted by Andy_WSM
    THats what I have done with mine. Cable tied it to the grille at the back of the unit where the coil is. I notice that when the unit comes on the air temp drops as its pulling air in from across the garden ,closer to the house is always warmer.
    • richardc1983
    • By richardc1983 11th Mar 09, 12:45 PM
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    richardc1983
    U will need to flush through the coil once a year with water, despite it not being in a very dirty environment the dust and fibres in the loft will clog up the coil, the only way to get rid of these is flowing water.
  • samtheman1k
    THats what I have done with mine. Cable tied it to the grille at the back of the unit where the coil is. I notice that when the unit comes on the air temp drops as its pulling air in from across the garden ,closer to the house is always warmer.
    Originally posted by richardc1983
    However, the air flow itself will cool down the thermometer, it's just like a wind and water in the atmosphere will hit the thermometer, evaporate and cool it down to below the ambient.
    • richardc1983
    • By richardc1983 11th Mar 09, 6:56 PM
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    richardc1983
    not a sealed thermometer measuring only air temp.
  • samtheman1k
    I can't find who or what thread it was, but whoever was claiming that heat pumps needed a qualified engineer to maintain them at least once a year, here is the official information from Mitsubishi on maintenance:

    Ecodan does not need an annual service by a refrigeration engineer. However an annual service by an Approved Ecodan Installer to carry out a visual inspection, ensure that the heat exchanger is clean and the power terminal blocks are tight every 12 months is required.
    So I guess it depends if you think you're able to do the above...
    • richardc1983
    • By richardc1983 13th Mar 09, 2:55 PM
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    richardc1983
    My engineer comes to service the unit, a service in my eyes is a clean of the heat exchangers, check the electrics are not corroded in the outdoor unit. Check the refrigerant pressures. The last two items require a qualified engineer. Of course you could clean it yourself if you get the correct coil cleaner chemicals, I prefer to just give someone who I know £20 to check all of the above once a year.
  • airconwarehouse
    loft mounted outdoor units
    Loft mounted Outdoor Units.......

    Watch for dust build up on the unit's coil - when ths unit is outside, Rain action helps keep it clean. When the units are mounted inside, dust will quickly reduce the efficiency of heat transfer......................
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 13th Mar 09, 5:14 PM
    • 26,733 Posts
    • 12,927 Thanks
    Cardew
    I can't find who or what thread it was, but whoever was claiming that heat pumps needed a qualified engineer to maintain them at least once a year, here is the official information from Mitsubishi on maintenance:

    Ecodan does not need an annual service by a refrigeration engineer. However an annual service by an Approved Ecodan Installer to carry out a visual inspection, ensure that the heat exchanger is clean and the power terminal blocks are tight every 12 months is required.

    So I guess it depends if you think you're able to do the above...
    Originally posted by samtheman1k
    It was stated in post121# in this thread, by The Chippy who installs ASHPs

    He stated 6 monthly at a very low £40 per visit.

    A most important point regarding costs.


    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.html?t=702257&page=7
  • samtheman1k
    It was stated in post121# in this thread, by The Chippy who installs ASHPs

    He stated 6 monthly at a very low £40 per visit.

    A most important point regarding costs.


    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.html?t=702257&page=7
    Originally posted by Cardew
    Yes, of course, but I wouldn't be suprised if even storage heaters, and immersion heaters also 'recommend and an annual service to check the connections, clean the bricks etc., by a suitably qualified person'....
    • Andy_WSM
    • By Andy_WSM 3rd Apr 09, 7:24 AM
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    Andy_WSM
    Thought I'd pop in a month on and update on how my ASHP is going.

    It's great!

    The running costs are getting cheaper and cheaper as the outdoor temps are getting warmer. I still leave the unit active 24/7, although obviously it is running less and less as we head towards warmer weather.

    I had a letter yesterday to say my Electricity costs are going down by 10%, but not the gas, so another win!

    Average daily running costs (before price drop) = £1.50 (per 24 hours)

    I popped into the loft yesterday to check the energy monitor readings and to check for leaks etc. No problems found and no apparent build up of dust.

    If I have one negative observation, and there had to be one, it's the recovery times on the hot water. Last weekend I had a friend staying. I had a shower and washed up some dishes, half hour later my friend got up wanting a shower and I'd used all the hot water. It took an hour for the tank to recover enough for the shower to be used again. The tank has an immersion, but you have to go into the loft to turn it on, so in the future I might have a switch put in the hallway so I can boost the hot water if I need to.
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