Archive for the ‘Heat Pump Systems’ Category

How Can Heat Pump Reversing Valves Help Heat Homes in Kirkland?

Monday, June 11th, 2012

As conventional energy resources dwindle and become more expensive, alternatives increase in popularity.  Heat pumps in Kirkland, like the natural heat they harness, are fast rising to the surface.

Tapping the stored energy of the greatest solar collector in existence, ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) are electrically powered systems that tap the earth’s relatively constant temperature to provide cooling, heating, and hot water for homes and commercial buildings. Simple, efficient and abundant, heat pumps are best used in moderate to hot climates where the differential of temperatures is not extreme.

In General

Functioning on the same principle as refrigerators, the heat pump uses a liquid to absorb heat as it turns into a gas and release heat as it returns to a liquid state. During the summer, the heat pump operates as a standard central air conditioner, removing heat from the house and venting it to the outside.

In the winter, the heat pump reverses this process, extracting heat from the cold air outside and releasing it inside the house. The heat pump is very efficient when the outside temperature is around 45 degrees Fahrenheit to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but it becomes less efficient as the temperature drops.

The Heart of the Matter

The reversing valve in the heat pump switches the process from absorbing heat from the inside to evacuate outdoors like an air conditioner to extracting heat from cold temperatures outside and redistributing it indoors.  The thermal energy at play is the natural force of heat to move toward cooler temperatures, releasing energy in the shift.  Heat pumps take care of both and the reversing valve controls the direction of the flow.

The reversing valve has two states of operation: relaxed and energized.  In the relaxed state, the heat pump can be programmed to introduce either heated or cooled temperatures into the conditioned space, depending on the direction of the flow of refrigerant through the closed loop.

By applying a 24 volt charge of AC current (a low voltage typically used in HVAC systems), the valve becomes energized and reverses the flow, producing the opposite conditioning.  The reversing valve may be driven by the heat pump through the use of a control board or directly by a thermostat.

As energy resources rapidly change in cost and supply, heat pumps utilizing geothermal energy are looking like a viable alternative in today’s market.  To learn more about this heating option please call Sound Heating

Get Rid of the Icicles on Your Eaves in Des Moines

Friday, February 10th, 2012

There’s nothing more impressive than a particularly long icicle on the eaves of your Des Moines home. As it reaches toward the ground, dripping cold water, you can’t help but think of starting up your furnace. However, icicles are often unsafe – not only for you and your family but for anyone else that might be near your home. As more water joins the icicle and the structure grows, it gets heavier. That weight heightens the chance that it will fall and hit someone or that it will cause damage to your roof or gutter.

So, it’s important to get rid of icicles on your eaves as they appear. Generally, it is best to remove them before they reach 4 or 5 inches in length. Even shorter icicles can be dangerous if left unchecked and if anything is stored underneath the overhang of your roof, it can be damaged.

Removing Icicles

There are quite a few ways to remove icicles. The easiest way to is to cut or break them down. If your roof is low enough, you can hack them down with a large saw or knife. If the roof is higher, a board or broom can be used to reach up and knock them down. In the winter, you should do your best to avoid going on the roof to remove icicles. The danger involved is too great due to ice and snow.

Another way to remove icicles is with heat. There are a few ways to do this. A blowtorch or heated rod provided by a roofing company can help to remove them from the ground. Or you can install heating panels on your eaves and gutter that will keep those icicles from forming in the first place.

Safe Removal

When removing the icicles from your roof, make sure you carefully rope off the area and don’t allow anyone nearby. You should wear a helmet if you plan on standing below them and try to stand clear of the fall area. Icicles are very sharp and incredibly solid – they can cause horrific injury if you’re not careful.

Ideally, if you act fast, icicle removal is just a minor inconvenience every weekend. However, if the icicles form up too heavily and become a physical danger to people in and around your home, you should contact a professional with tools that can remove them quickly and safely without putting anyone at increased risk.  If you have any questions about this please contact Sound Heating & AC.

If I Choose a Heat Pump System, Will I Also Need to Install Supplemental Heat?

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Most Commonly Asked Questions about Heat Pumps

If you’re thinking about buying a new heat pump for your home, chances are you have some questions about these types of products and how they work. In fact, because these types of home comfort systems are relatively new to a lot of people, there are a quite a few misconceptions out there about how effective and efficient they can be.

Recently we’ve gotten some good questions from our readers, so we thought we’d like to pass along the answers so that others can benefit from the information as well.

If I Buy a Heat Pump, Do I Have to Buy an Air Conditioner Too?

That heat pumps are only able to heat your home is probably one of the biggest misconceptions about this type of equipment. Heat pumps work by extracting heat from the air in one place and transferring it to another. That means that in the winter, your heat pump is able to heat your home by taking heat from the outdoor air and moving it inside.

However, in the summer, the heat pump is able to do the same thing only in reverse. When you switch on your heat pump’s cooling function, it will be able to take the heat out of your indoor air and transfer it outside. In this way, the same heat pump system can keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer without you needing to purchase an air conditioner or other supplemental comfort systems.

That depends on what the climate is like where you live and how warm you like to keep your home. In general, heat pumps can keep any home comfortable as long as the outdoor temperature is above 32°F or so. If the temperature outside drops below that, you may want to have some type of supplemental heating system just in case. However, a heat pump will still be able to provide some warmth at these lower temperatures and you may be able to keep yourself comfortable with a simple space heater or too.

Also, remember that these colder temperatures are most common at night when you would probably have turned your heat down anyway. As long as you live in a relatively moderate climate, heat pumps can do a great job of keeping your home comfortable all year long.