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7/8/2020 3:01:36 PM
Posted: 1/27/2014 9:04:52 AM EDT
Heat pumps work by using a reversed refrigerant cycle to absorb heat from the outdoor air. As outside temperatures drop, heat pumps become less and less efficient.  They usually have a resistive heat strip (resistive element) to help it along if needed.

Here in the south, a heat pump is usually fine. However this recent cold snap got me thinking.

I know this is half cocked but bear with me. What if you built some sort of partial enclosure or heat exchanger around or near your outdoor units and used wood heat to raise the ambient temperature during extreme cold?  Basically giving the coils heat when it can't draw it from the outdoor air.

Could you ruin your $10k HVAC? Maybe. Buuuut it it worked - cheaper / better heat since I have free wood.  

I know this is probably a dumb idea but any ideas on potential execution?  What could possibly go wrong!?!?!?!

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Link Posted: 1/27/2014 9:07:00 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Fooboy:
Heat pumps work by using a reversed refrigerant cycle to absorb heat from the outdoor air. As outside temperatures drop, heat pumps become less and less efficient.  They usually have a resistive heat strip (resistive element) to help it along if needed.

Here in the south, a heat pump is usually fine. However this recent cold snap got me thinking.

I know this is half cocked but bear with me. What if you built some sort of partial enclosure or heat exchanger around or near your outdoor units and used wood heat to raise the ambient temperature during extreme cold?  Basically giving the coils heat when it can't draw it from the outdoor air.

Could you ruin your $10k HVAC? Maybe. Buuuut it it worked - cheaper / better heat since I have free wood.  

I know this is probably a dumb idea but any ideas on potential execution?  What could possibly go wrong!?!?!?!

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Why not blow the wood heated air into your home and cut out the middleman?
Link Posted: 1/27/2014 9:08:27 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Fooboy:
What could possibly go wrong!?!?!?!

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Link Posted: 1/27/2014 9:08:51 AM EDT
That is the plan ... Eventually. Stainless liner and wood stove will cost me close to $4k

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Link Posted: 1/27/2014 9:09:25 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By kallnojoy:
Originally Posted By Fooboy:
What could possibly go wrong!?!?!?!

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http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Jc6G0m4nO2s/Ttt9EW9-68I/AAAAAAAAAWA/SCc_LTBxR70/s320/girl_smile_fire.jpg


I laughed out loud. This is a very possible outcome

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Link Posted: 1/27/2014 9:10:33 AM EDT
Geo-Therm is the right answer here; when I have to replace my units I'm going to look real close as this as the best of both worlds.
Link Posted: 1/27/2014 9:15:40 AM EDT
Extreme cold would be best served with radiator heat via a hot water heater and pump on a loop. Pex and a h/w heater and pump would also cost less than 1k :)
Link Posted: 1/27/2014 9:16:44 AM EDT
Weird.  I've never heard of a heat pump that cycles out into the atmosphere.   I thought that they all pretty much ran a loop in the ground below the frostline.
Link Posted: 1/27/2014 9:22:41 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/27/2014 9:27:17 AM EDT by Chapman]


OP, your idea would work, and I think it would work well. Cutting out the middle man by just heating your house with the free wood would be your best option, but if you don't have a wood stove or fireplace, this is your next best option.

*disclaimer: I don't have a heat pump system, but the thermodynamics of it work out well. Helping to heat the refrigerant in the evaporator will increase your overall efficiency.

Don't burn your heat pump up, you should probably talk to an HVAC guy
Link Posted: 1/27/2014 9:27:03 AM EDT
I think I would rather have a wood burning stove inside instead of going outside to feed wood to my heat pump.  I understand where you are going with this but practicality is just a bit short.
Link Posted: 1/27/2014 9:27:57 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By Chapman:


Got a window unit? Flip it around in the winter, and you've got yourself a heat pump. It is the same thing, essentially, as an AC unit. You just want the extracted heat blown in to your house this time, instead of vented out through the outside unit
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Originally Posted By Chapman:
Originally Posted By MotorMouth:
Weird.  I've never heard of a heat pump that cycles out into the atmosphere.   I thought that they all pretty much ran a loop in the ground below the frostline.


Got a window unit? Flip it around in the winter, and you've got yourself a heat pump. It is the same thing, essentially, as an AC unit. You just want the extracted heat blown in to your house this time, instead of vented out through the outside unit


Yeah, I get how it works.  Just seems like it would be really inefficient compared to using the ground.  

Of course, it's 5 degrees outside here, and I don't see much efficiency in pulling heat out of that when compared to pulling heat out of the ground down 20 feet
Link Posted: 1/27/2014 9:30:21 AM EDT
Now to really twist your noodle, what if you vented your dryer vent in a shroud around your heat pump, then you could reclaim some energy.  Or maybe just cause it's so friggen low humidity just vent your dryer indoors.



Which is about where I am thinking of going recently.
Link Posted: 1/27/2014 9:30:52 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By MotorMouth:


Yeah, I get how it works.  Just seems like it would be really inefficient compared to using the ground.  

Of course, it's 5 degrees outside here, and I don't see much efficiency in pulling heat out of that when compared to pulling heat out of the ground down 20 feet
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Originally Posted By MotorMouth:
Originally Posted By Chapman:
Originally Posted By MotorMouth:
Weird.  I've never heard of a heat pump that cycles out into the atmosphere.   I thought that they all pretty much ran a loop in the ground below the frostline.


Got a window unit? Flip it around in the winter, and you've got yourself a heat pump. It is the same thing, essentially, as an AC unit. You just want the extracted heat blown in to your house this time, instead of vented out through the outside unit


Yeah, I get how it works.  Just seems like it would be really inefficient compared to using the ground.  

Of course, it's 5 degrees outside here, and I don't see much efficiency in pulling heat out of that when compared to pulling heat out of the ground down 20 feet


True. Usually winters here are rarely In upper 20s. Usually 30s and 40s for the low.

Eventually I want a wood stove

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Link Posted: 1/27/2014 9:31:55 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/27/2014 9:33:30 AM EDT by Fooboy]
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Originally Posted By Con-Sol:
Now to really twist your noodle, what if you vented your dryer vent in a shroud around your heat pump, then you could reclaim some energy.  Or maybe just cause it's so friggen low humidity just vent your dryer indoors.

Which is about where I am thinking of going recently.
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You know that's not a bad idea. My inside rh is 30 % right now.

We're using 240 volts to get warm humidified air, why not use it?


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Link Posted: 1/27/2014 9:35:10 AM EDT

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Originally Posted By Fooboy:
You know that's not a bad idea. My inside rh is 30 % right now.





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Originally Posted By Fooboy:



Originally Posted By Con-Sol:

Now to really twist your noodle, what if you vented your dryer vent in a shroud around your heat pump, then you could reclaim some energy.  Or maybe just cause it's so friggen low humidity just vent your dryer indoors.



Which is about where I am thinking of going recently.




You know that's not a bad idea. My inside rh is 30 % right now.





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I've got 3 full solid loads and a wing nut ring on my dryer and I will probably pull my dryer out the 6 inches to do this tonight.  I'm not exactly worried about mold in this weather.  Seems kinda stupid to pump that hot moist air outside.  Particularly when last months electric bill was $234. and I live alone in a 3 bedroom house.



 
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