Heat Pumps in Winter

It has been expressed by many of people that in winter a heat pump will not work.  This is true in some ways and false in others and you need to know the truth.

Heating Ground Source

Heating Ground Source

A heat pump relies on ambient temperature that is draw by a fan across the evaporator coils that are charged with gas.  There are a few different types of gasses used in this technology and each have their own effect from the ambient temperature.   Firefly heat pumps started many years ago with R22 gas and what we found is that at low ambient temperatures from 5 degrees and below the air source heat pumps would not be efficient.  This became a huge issue for the brand and they then contract a climate control facility to runs tests.

The results were amazing and proved once and for all what constitutes a great heat pump and what does not.  First there are a few low pressure gasses that are there to replace R22 such as 417A and 407c.  It was found that these gasses also failed at low ambient temperatures so they were not a solution to the issue.  134A and 410a gas were then checked and it was found that 410A lead the way in every area.  In fact with the right balance between the evaporator coils, heat exchanger compressors and the Firefly brand achieved a coefficient of performance of two to one at an ambient temperature of minus seven.  This was achieved through testing every gas every combination of heat exchanger and evaporator coils.

Having a look then at the issue of saving money on your electricity and having hot water even in winter Firefly have achieved this.  The equipment is the highest performing range of heat pumps in South Africa and on the verge of going worldwide.  The managing director stated that the cost of the research and development is nothing in the grand scheme of being able to reduce electricity consumption and to always provide hot water to their clients even in extreme cold condition like the Drakensberg.  What was truly exciting was the efficiency across the entire spectrum of ambient temperatures in South Africa.  It was established that where most heat pump supplier were claiming a coefficient of performance with equipment that had an input power of 1.2kW and output of 3.5kw of 4 to 1.  This is crazy where the Firefly unit has an input power of 0.89kw and the output of 3.8kW now you do the math.