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Why are heat pumps so popular?

Blog – Heat pumps

I saw a funny meme the other day on Facebook.

With the corona virus putting the state into lock down and us turning mainlanders away at the airport they were using a heat pump remote control pictured being shown at the airport and they were asking everybody what it controlled. The punch line was if the disembarking passengers answered a reverse cycle air conditioner we knew they were interlopers and to be sent back from whence they came.

Yes they are reverse cycle air conditioners but we Tasmanians affectionately call them heat pumps.

Why are they so popular here in Tassie?

Well for one our winters are cold, not stupidly European cold but not far off it with overnight lows consistently well into the minuses. When you wake up of a morning and everything is covered in ice that’s a subtle indicator you do not live in the tropics.

So no one likes being cold but also no one likes stupidly high power bills either. Wood heaters in many areas of the state had to be phased out due to poor air quality. That meant for large parts of Tassie this only left electricity as the only viable energy source.

Aurora/Tas Hydro even encouraged it with the introduction and commercialisation of the hydro heat tariff in the early 90’s. This was very low tariff just for heating and hot water. It’s was very cheap in comparison to the lights and power point tariff. Homes were built with under floor heating; big 8kW Pure Heat Royal electric heaters were installed in there thousands. Those units are like and electric open fire and designed to fit into where the old fashioned open fire place. Then that super cheap tariff became not so super cheap and electric heating really started to hurt consumers. Making the choice between keeping warm and affording their power bills a very real one to make.

Along came the heat pump.

The beauty of these is unlike like the other electrical heating options on the market for every 1 kW of energy they consumed they could output up to 3kW of heat energy into the home in the right conditions.

Whereas all the rest for 1kW of energy consumed the best you could hope for was 1kW of heat output.

That’s 300% more efficient. Those are big number when it comes keeping your power bills low and your house warm.

How can the co-efficient of energy performance be 3 : 1? Or 300%?

Simply this the heat pump doesn’t create energy it steals the energy from outside and brings it inside and the energy we use or buy is powering the compressor, fans, controls etc that bring that energy into our home.

Are they always 300% efficient?

The answer is no. That all depends on how much energy is available. There is much more heat energy available to harvest from a 10 degree outside temperature than 0 degree minus temperature and once we get into the minus temperatures the energy efficiency of these units really starts to plummet. But they still work up to a point and they are consuming their maximum amount of energy at this time.

They come in a variety of shapes and sizes with good old wall split being the most popular. Comprised of the outdoor unit outside (hint in the names here) and the indoor unit inside the house. Typically on the inside of an external wall but not always.

The indoor unit can take a few different forms. From a ceiling mounted cassette, floor mounted unit and the ubiquitous wall unit.

The other popular and whole solution is the ducted heat pump. This is using exactly the same principle as the wall split but just on a bigger scale. The indoor unit is typically in the roof cavity though sometimes in the sub floor areas and the warm air is pumped around to different rooms through ducts and delivered through ether ceiling, floor or wall mounted vents. The amount of control we can deliver these days with these devices is amazing and in my opinion a must have for all new homes.

So after all that, why are heat pumps so popular in Tasmania?

They keep us warm; they are flexible in design so they can be used almost anywhere but most importantly cost effective to run when compared to all other direct electric styles of heating. Toasty warm and low power bills. What’s not to love about that?

At DMS Energy, we sell LG and Actron Heat pumps in both wall split and ducted. Our Actron ducted systems are made in Australia and there isn’t a more efficient option for ducted air to air heat pumps available on the market. The Actron ducted systems are amazing in their efficiency and level of control.

Our LG range of wall splits come standard with wi-fi integration so clients can turn their units off and on remotely from an app on their smart phone. The units are super stylish and really efficient. They are also the top ranked heat pump unit from Choice Magazine.

But like we have said many times before DMS Energy do the product research so you don’t have to. So you know it’s going to be good.

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