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Thread: Heat Pumps and Cool Elevated Climate locations

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    Default Heat Pumps and Cool Elevated Climate locations

    One day I may be forced kicking and struggling to replace my small coal fired hot water heater (costs a $1 week for all the hot water I want) and go 'GREEN'. Wott a Sick Joke !!!)
    Being located around the 900 metre (3000 foot) mark on the Central Tablelands with no near access to Natural Gas means either LPG (Instantanious), Solar panels or Heat Pumps.
    Mains electricity useage costs are now passing the realms of fantasy.
    Solar Panels have never been favoured here because of severe frosts and heavy cloud cover, LPG has to be delivered so Heat Pump types may be an option.
    During the winter very cold 'Southerlies' straight from Antartica via Kosiosco continuing to roll up the western side of the Divide passing over here.
    We dont need to hear that snow has fallen on the Southern Alps as the temperature drops accordingly.
    Like everywhere winter's vary but using the 'Worse Case Scenario' situation, in my over 50 years in the area, during one cold snap Frost began forming as soon as the Sun set and within 2 hours car windscreens had to be scrapped clean.
    by 10pm Cars had over 4mm (1\4 inch)of 'HoreFrost', little vertical icicles covering the body work.
    You could see the ice crystals dancing in the lights.
    During that snap of several days , the days were windless crystal clear hitting maybe 8 to 10 C briefly before sliding back to bottom out after midnight to around Minus 10 C and holding steady there untill after daylight when as defrosting occurred, pipes happily burst keeping the Plumbing fraternity in work for over a week.
    Wind Chill is another factor that occurs here but you seldom see it used in determining suitability for installations.
    The Northern Hemisphere has weather we only read about but it doesnt seem as though any of that knowledge is applied here.
    While I will be sorry to see the little donkey go, it would be nice after some 30 years to have hot water available without having to light the boiler.

    As we have seen with the recent Roof Installation fiasco, there are an appreciable number of shonks out there selling inferior products with equaly poor installation.
    The days of using Brand names and displayed Trade Qualifications based on a hard earnt reputation are long gone when choosing products and Installers.
    So I am curious as to can these work here and where physically would it need to be located apart from allowing a clear airflow for the pump?
    Remebering that my South and West side of any structure are the worst weather sides.
    Like the American Indian, up here you try to 'face' the rising Sun for all doors and openings on garages, sheds and Lean To's unless you like 40 knot freezing Sou'Westerlies blowing you all over the place.
    Thanks for any and all thoughts.



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    Its sounds like you are perfectly suited to a heat pump. As much as I hate saying hit the search button , there has been a few good conversations recently ( say over the last 12 months ) about heat pumps. Its an option I will be going with when my current cheap crap gas hot water system blows up ( its 3 years old , I will give it another 2 )

    I found some good info here a while ago about how they work and under what conditions

    I did attempt to get one a while ago under government grants but I wasnt elligable for one of them so that was the end of that.

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    Sanity, with the recent cancellation (Friday) of the current schemes, when they do restart, you may again be elligable if they 'clean house' with all previous applicants.
    Peter is going to need to 'Treaty Now' to get back into public favour and what better way than with another round of Grants?

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    I dont qualify because I have a clapped out gas unit. I would need to have a clapped out electricity unit.

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    Ohhhh, not being in a Gas locale, I forgot the rule is if on or gas is available (NG Mains), that is the preferred option.
    But, surely a bit of thoughtfull shopping could see you over that difficulty??
    I did a SEARCH, figures going around and around in my head to confusion but if this is only a 'Fridge, why does it have to be wired in on a seperate 15A power point??
    Also, is it 'Off Peak' or just thermostaically controlled, I didnt see any reference anywhere to either supply.
    Oddly I have just found out my local unwell known Artist has just installed a 350L Quantum and he said as he basically living on his own he cant use the water so when he went away for a few days, he turned it off and the tank held its heat to the extent of the water being hot enough to shower with when he returned.

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    most are wired to existing service off peak
    you can run them constant as they only use about 5a
    some have boost elements if to cold to run pump
    the dux and quantum were only 250lt when i was looking and didnt have the boost element
    got a rheem 315lt connected off peak the booster hasnt clicked in yet see what happens during winter

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    Quote Originally Posted by gordon_s1942 View Post
    During the winter very cold 'Southerlies' straight from Antartica via Kosiosco continuing to roll up the western side of the Divide passing over here.
    We dont need to hear that snow has fallen on the Southern Alps as the temperature drops accordingly.
    Like everywhere winter's vary but using the 'Worse Case Scenario' situation, in my over 50 years in the area, during one cold snap Frost began forming as soon as the Sun set and within 2 hours car windscreens had to be scrapped clean.
    by 10pm Cars had over 4mm (14 inch)of 'HoreFrost', little vertical icicles covering the body work.
    You could see the ice crystals dancing in the lights.
    During that snap of several days , the days were windless crystal clear hitting maybe 8 to 10 C briefly before sliding back to bottom out after midnight to around Minus 10 C and holding steady there untill after daylight when as defrosting occurred, pipes happily burst keeping the Plumbing fraternity in work for over a week.
    Can't help you with heat pump info, but I gotta say your cold weather description is a tonic to me cooking up here in the Top End. The monsoon's disappeared, it hasn't rained properly for weeks and it's obscenely hot and humid. -10C sounds nice.

    But my solar hot water system is working wonderfuly. :|

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    I'm not completely up on how they install heat pump systems and where they are drawing the thermal reference from. I think it's the atmosphere for normal hot water system.

    For something like a reverse cycle heat pump air conditioner, the system can be made more efficient by dumping the heat into a large thermal mass like bed rock so that it can be recovered later.
    In the case of hot water, it's a one way system, the heat is soaked up from the air.
    I'm surprised there isn't a system been devised to use the heat from a household freezer and that is pumped or dumped into the hot water system.

    On a similar note, my old house has off peak hot water. On peak would kill the power bill.
    The problem with off peak is that it's a big house and it has long pipes (poor design) so it often runs out of hot water with a large number of people in the house.
    The solution was to put a dual coil in. When off peak power comes on, it shuts down the on peak power and uses off peak to heat the water. Not as efficient but at least it doesn't run out of hot water.
    I however took the cheaper option at the time and got a single coil. I could easily wire in a peak and off peak automatic switch into the circuit if I wanted to solve the problem.

    In the case of the dual coil, the on peak will heat whenever the water needs it.
    To fix this, setting the thermostat to a much lower temperature would help for the on peak coil, but I'm not sure if these hot water tanks have dual thermostats for that purpose.

    The BEST solution (which I think can help you) is to put an "instant on" hot water system in series with the main water heater. My problem is that I'm not a plumber and I'm not sure how an instant on hot water system will work with already hot water entering the heater.

    So to describe the overall system.....

    Cold water comes into the heating system, first pass is through the solar elements if you have them. This warms the water up any amount saving at least some power.

    Next, it passes over a heat exchanger from the household freezer, air conditioner etc... if such systems ever exist.

    Then it goes to the off peak / heat pump hot water system for further heating.

    Finally this hot water is piped out to the house through an "instant on" hot water heater which has a thermostat which only turns it on IF the water coming into it is too cold.

    The trick to that would of course be to set it's temperature low too, something like 40 degrees. That way it doesn't turn on unless things are really dire.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gordon_s1942 View Post
    One day I may be forced kicking and struggling to replace my small coal fired hot water heater (costs a $1 week for all the hot water I want) and go 'GREEN'. Wott a Sick Joke !!!)
    Being located around the 900 metre (3000 foot) mark on the Central Tablelands with no near access to Natural Gas means either LPG (Instantanious), Solar panels or Heat Pumps.
    We are in a similar situation to you Gordon, though about 60 km further West.
    2 months of 0c and -12c on a few occasions is the winter norm.

    Our Rheem storage off peak system is over 22 years old so I made some enquiries at Plumbers Mate in Mudgee about installing a heat pump heating system, The salesman seemed unsure if the thing would work very well in winter "because of the low ambient air temperature, but you will recover all the heat generated by the compressor motor."

    A big advantage is in installation, they go straight in to the power and plumbing connections of a storage heater.

    However If you decide to replace your coal fired "donkey" water heater I'd be happy to give it a good home.

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    Got a wood fire ?
    Hmm.... a lot of waste heat going up that chimney you might recover ?
    How about a heat collector/exchanger mounted on top ?

    In summer when there is no fire.... all that cool air coming down the chimney might be handy ???


    Actually, thinking more about it, I'm wondering if a heat pipe will work in a situation where the heat from the chimney is mopped up and taken to the heat pump's heat exchanger.
    From memory heat pipes need their emitters to be higher than their collectors. I may have to play around with the idea myself and have a fridgey friend build a simple water vapour heat pipe for me.
    Last edited by trash; 21-02-10 at 06:33 PM.
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    Trash, Google 'Quantum Heat Pumps' good artists drawing of their set up, all on top of the water tank.
    BD, see PM's.
    I did consider a RC A/C but was put off by that possible freezing of the exchanger in Mid Winter.
    A workmate told me he had an 'In Window RC Air Con' when he was stationed near Werris Creek but on really cold nights, it did indeed 'Freeze' and turn off untill it defrosted.
    I read that some to prevent this, an electric element or gas heat was used to speed up the de-frost.
    I was thinking that with Hot water this wouldnt be too big a problem if it did stop as it would happen only late at night unless you didnt have a full tank of hot water and drew it off before it could again recover.
    The tanks are well insulated so the temps wouldnt effect the water itself too much.
    And again, how many may want to use the water and when??
    The neighbour is actually turning his off as he said he cant use the water it heats.

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    We have RC A/C and the unit shuts down for a few minutes every hour in winter to thaw the compressor which is totally covered in ice, The compressor keeps running but the circulating fan stops operating and the unit makes a short hissing noise like air brakes being applied.

    I don't know if the compressor is just free running or if it has a pumping load to heat it up quickly.

    When the outside temp gets below about 3c the thing just blows cold air and that is what worries me about using a Heat Pump HWS, when you need hot water the most is when these things are least efficient.

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    Duck, the tank would have 300 plus litres of hot water if it was running during the day so stopping would not affect that water.
    It depends what time of day you get those temps to stop the unit and how long it stopped for.
    Also your need for hotwater (shower/bath) at that time would be part of the equation.
    I wonder if any heat rising from the tank would help minimise the 'stopped' time as the compressor sits on the top on the Quantum model.

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    Yes my RC A/C freezes up as the temp heads towards zero. I reckon it's more than 10mins when it's defrosting and hissing.
    I put in a couple of 315l electric HW units 2.5 years ago as there were no rebates etc. Anyway they just work and with my 20% discount I don't worry too much about cost. A mates solar hot water panel split one cold night last winter so I'm not convinced solar is the way to go here either. I'm starting to hear a bit more of this happening now also.

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    The climate where gordon_s1942 and myself live requires the liquid in the solar panels to be laced with anti freeze to prevent damage from freezing in winter.

    The heated liquid then goes through a heat exchanger built into the storage vessel and is recycled back to the panel.

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    I should have a new "Chip-heater" on my farm near Tamworth,never been used.The neighbour reckons you could heat a bathtub full of hot water on 2 pine cones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trash View Post
    Got a wood fire ?
    Hmm.... a lot of waste heat going up that chimney you might recover ?
    How about a heat collector/exchanger mounted on top ?

    In summer when there is no fire.... all that cool air coming down the chimney might be handy ???


    Actually, thinking more about it, I'm wondering if a heat pipe will work in a situation where the heat from the chimney is mopped up and taken to the heat pump's heat exchanger.
    From memory heat pipes need their emitters to be higher than their collectors. I may have to play around with the idea myself and have a fridgey friend build a simple water vapour heat pipe for me.
    I had similar ideas along that line,as I have tank water.A coil in the chimney above the fireplace, 2 non returning valves on either end, a storage tank with pressure relive,connected to the tap/bath/kitchen and the other end to the rainwater tank.
    Any good? Never got arond to build it as I have an electric HWS.

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    Make the tank open ended, no relief valve, say an old 125 litre hotwater tank,as there is no pressure it should last a long time and is insulated.

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    I remember that on my pop's farm at Bargo, the fuel stove had pipes in it somewhere to heat water for the household.

    In winter they were never short of really HOT water.

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    Yes, well when I become gulivers neighbour in the next couple of years, I plane on building a similar sort of system using some galvinised pipe in the fireplace.
    The water supply feeds a hot water holding tank, if the level drops, cold water is fed into the feeder pipe to the fire. (no valves)
    The heater pipe is single ended, cold water flows into the T, where it is heated in a dead end, the hot water rises up the tube or if it is too hot, the steam bubbles up the tube
    which feeds back to the top of the hot water tank in a closed circuit.
    No valves since the tank itself is not pressurised. The heat of the system pumps the water around.
    I expect it to be noisy if it cavitates with steam. A longer drop should regulate it under it's own pressure. Hot water for the shower etc is then gravity fed.
    Good thing is it can use bore water, unlike the electrics which calcify up.
    When the gal pipe does calcify, just replace the heating section. It's a single pipe with an end cap.

    Question is how to heat the water during summer and fire bans.


    I really want to build an ammonia refrigeration system that is powered by solar.
    A solar reflector serves as the heater. I'm not sure that ammonia systems can work with their heat exchangers at a distance. Instead such a system would work better like an evapourative system with the cooling unit entirely on the roof and the air blown through it and ducted.
    A frigey friend suggested it would be too inefficient. Until I reminded him, the heat source is free and it's a good heating source which just happens to be the source of your cooling problems in the first place.
    If it's a hot night, then the system could run evapourative, or you could just run it on kerosene or electricity at night.

    Problem with building an ammonia system is you can't use copper.
    Pain in the arse to build one.
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