Today’s air source heat pumps, also known as ground-coupled or geothermal heat pump systems, are based on the same technology that was first developed in the early 1970s. The idea is simple – when you have a well already dug into your yard and buried beneath your house, you can use it to run your heating system. It uses an underground coil to absorb heat from the earth’s natural thermal energy. Then, it creates a loop by piping hot water from the coils back up to your home to warm it.
An air source heat pump works similarly – but instead of using the ground below your home for its power, this type uses the warmer air near the surface. This means it doesn’t need to be installed underground. Instead, these units sit aboveground, just off the roof of your home.
The History of Ground Coupled Heat Pumps
The geothermal idea of this principle of physics has been used since ancient times; one example is the use of geothermal power in hot springs, which was used to pump warm air into cool areas in China and Europe hundreds of years ago. The mechanical technology currently used in modern heat pumps is a relatively recent innovation.
Õhksoojuspumbad saaremaal (Air source heat pumps in Saaremaa) were invented after an oil crisis in 1973 inspired scientists to search for new ways to generate electricity. One group of researchers came up with the idea of coupling geothermal energy with solar energy. They realized that while solar panels could only produce electricity during the day, geothermal power would always be available. So they coupled these two different sources together.
In the late 70s, engineers designed a prototype geothermal heat pump. But instead of being connected directly to the ground, it was attached to the side of a building. The unit used a fan to draw in cooler air through holes on the bottom of the device. As the cooled air hit the top of the machine, the fan pulled it back down again, creating a closed loop. The heat from the heated air then warmed the incoming cool air, causing it to rise once more, producing even more heat. By using this method, the unit was able to create enough heat to keep a small house at a comfortable temperature all year round.
But like most new technologies, this one had some problems. For instance, the fan required a lot of space – which made it hard to install in smaller homes. Also, since the system was powered by the wind, it would shut off if there wasn’t any outside breeze. And because the device was so heavy, it was difficult to move around, and installation took up quite a bit of time. Because of these issues, this type of heat pump never caught on.
However, a few years later another engineer thought about what he’d learned from the original design. He recognized that the problem with the fan was that it didn’t allow for much airflow control. If the direction of the wind changed, it could cause the device to stop working altogether. So he decided to redesign the unit to include a blower that could operate independently of the wind.
This second iteration of the heat pump was called the “direct drive” heat pump. Rather than using the wind to provide power, it simply ran off the sun’s rays. Once again, a fan helped pull the cooler air up to the top of the machine, where it was heated by the device. However, this time, the fan operated in two directions. The motor rotated slowly when no wind was present, allowing the device to stay operational in the event the wind stopped blowing.
A third version of the direct drive heat pump was put forth in the mid 80s. This unit was the most advanced yet. It included a fan that moved in both horizontal and vertical directions, allowing it to work in almost any weather conditions. The unit also included a battery-powered backup generator to ensure that the system would continue running if the mains went out.
Although air source heat pumps were still relatively uncommon in the early 90s, they did become more popular and were eventually adopted by many major manufacturers. In fact, today they’re the dominant form of geothermal heat pump worldwide.
How Air Source Heat Pumps Work Today
While their history has been long, air source heat pumps really took off in the 1980s thanks to advances in technology. Nowadays, these devices are extremely efficient, and they don’t require any moving parts. All they do is capture the warmth of the air next to your house and send it into your heating system.
If you live in colder climates, your heating bills will go down significantly. These systems also provide a way for homeowners to generate their own electricity. For example, if you have solar panels on your roof, you’ll be able to turn them on whenever you want. If you have a backyard garden, you can use the system to provide your home with additional hot water for washing dishes or watering your plants.
You can purchase an air source heat pump from any reputable manufacturer. Some companies offer a wide variety of different models, each offering different levels of performance and efficiency. You may also find that certain models are better suited for specific climates. For instance, if you live in a place with cold winters, you might find that a high-efficiency model is best. But if you live in hotter regions, you might prefer a low-efficiency model.
There are several things to consider when choosing an air source heat pump. First, you should look for a company that offers a full range of products. Second, you should shop around for prices and see how much you can save. Finally, make sure you choose one that includes a warranty and guarantees that it will last throughout the life of your home.
Once you’ve found the right company, you’ll likely need to schedule an appointment to tour their facility. During your visit, you’ll get to check out the equipment in person. Afterward, you’ll probably need to sign paperwork to finalize your order.
As far as installing an air source heat pump goes, you’ll typically need to dig a hole large enough to accommodate the unit. Next, you’ll have to decide where the unit should be located. Most experts recommend placing it on the south side of your property, as this area tends to receive the most sunshine. You’ll then pour a concrete pad underneath the unit to protect it from snow and rain damage.