Quantum Geothermal is a leading installer of geothermal heating and cooling systems for new homes in southern Ontario

Air Source Heat Pumps 

Air source heat pumps (ASHPs) have gained popularity as an energy efficient and environmentally friendly alternative for heating homes instead of using furnaces that burn fossil fuels. They use the thermal energy (natural warmth) present in outdoor air as their heat source and can function even in cold winter weather. In the summer months the same equipment can provide cooling for your home. To understand how these systems work, here’s a quick engineering summary to explain the technology and basic principles behind their operation.

ASHPs work on a basic thermodynamic principle. They transfer heat from one place to another, using a refrigeration cycle. This cycle involves the circulation of a refrigerant through a closed system of components, which include an evaporator, a compressor, a condenser, and an expansion valve.

The process begins with the evaporator absorbs heat from the air outside your house. As mentioned above, even in the midst of a cold Ontario winter there’s still heat (thermal energy) present in the air and the evaporator captures that energy and uses it to change a refrigerant material within the system from a liquid to a gas (evaporation).

Once the refrigerant has absorbed heat and turned into a gas, it moves to the compressor. This is where the magic happens. The compressor pressurizes the gas and as a result the temperature of the gas increases significantly. This high-temperature, pressured gas is now ready for the next step.

The hot, pressurized gas flows into the indoor unit, where the condenser is located. In the condenser, the refrigerant releases its stored heat energy into the heating equipment inside the house.

After releasing its heat, the refrigerant becomes a liquid again. It then passes through an expansion valve, which reduces its pressure and temperature, preparing it to return to the evaporator to repeat the cycle.

When cooling is required, the process reverses, and excess heat inside the residence is expelled to the outdoors.

Ground source geothermal systems with their indoor heat pumps work in a similar way. That’s why we refer to these geothermal installations as heating and cooling systems.

Still with us? OK, enough about thermodynamics for today.

One of the key advantages of ASHPs is their energy efficiency. Since they transfer heat from the environment instead of by combustion of a fuel, they are more energy efficient then furnaces and can produce 2 – 3 units of heat for every unit of electricity consumed. This makes them much more energy-efficient than electric resistance heaters or gas fired furnaces.

To be fair, air source heat pumps are not as energy efficient as geothermal heat pumps joined to a ground loop system buried in the earth. However, for many retrofit projects they are often a better choice for upgrading an existing home because ASHPs can be installed outside needing only a small area by a wall of the house, same as would be required for a conventional AC unit. We do not need any space on the property to drill boreholes into the ground to tap into the thermal energy stored in the ground.

Quantum can help you plan and design a customized system as well as complete all the required contracting work. Our HVAC design team can assess your specific needs and recommend the appropriate ASHP for your home.

Air source heat pumps offer an innovative and energy-efficient way to heat and cool your home. By harnessing the latent heat in the air, these systems provide a sustainable solution that reduces energy consumption and lowers greenhouse gas emissions.

Please complete our inquiry form so we can connect and discuss the possibilities of installing an ASHP in your home.

If you are interested in learning more to decide if an air source heat pump system is right for your home retrofit project, please click on the link below.

We welcome your inquires and questions about air source heat pump systems.

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