Heat Pumps (Air to Water)
We have installed several Daikin Altherma heat pumps but it appears that they are no longer available from Daikin. We are investigating several other heat pumps including those made by Spacepak and Electro Industries:
There is a very informative article on the Green Building Advisor website about the state of the air to water heat pump market in 2016:
How Heat Pumps Work and Some History:
Since their introduction in the 1940s (view a 1947 brochure about one here – pdf), heat pumps have been used to heat and cool homes and businesses using the ground (geothermal), water (openloop), and the air as the heat source. All heat pumps work on the same principal; they use electricity to run a compressor that concentrates a lot of low
temperature heat into a smaller amount of high temperature heat that can be used to heat a building or make hot water.
Because this low temperature heat is free, the only cost is to run the compressor to concentrate it. For every kW of electricity put into a heat pump, it can concentrate between two and four free kW of power from the Sun, and deliver between three and five kW to a home or business. Heat pumps are the fastest growing heat source in Europe and Asia – globally it is recognized that using renewable energy from wind turbines and solar arrays to power heat pumps will be a very effective way to combat global warming.
This heat pump was a huge deal – it was a revolutionary air to water heat pump that seemed destined to make combustion obsolete!
The following text describes our Altherma efforts from 2008 through 2015 with the Altherma:
“We are getting a demo unit for Living Local on Oct 3rd – first time this unit has been shown in US outside a brief appearance in Chicago in January. It will be released in October for sale.
Tthe Altherma takes outside air even in the middle of winter and makes hot water for domestic use or for radiant heating systems – at half the operating cost of a 99% efficient fossil fuel boiler – it is geothermal in a box! The Alterma uses the stored solar energy in the outside air to heat water up to 122°F. This heated water can be used for radiant heating systems and domestic hot water. The Altherma heat pump is also designed to work with solar hot water panels to create a truly energy efficient heating system.
Operating costs will typically be half the cost of operating a similarly sized fossil fuel boiler – for example, if a home currently used $4,000 in propane a year with a boiler or furnace, the Altherma operating cost would be $2,000 in electricity a year with no propane bill.The efficiency of the Altherma meets or exceeds that of geothermal heat pumps. Because with the Altherma there is no need for a geothermal field, the installation price will be about half that of a geothermal system. This heat pump represents a truly revolutionary advance, and will be an essential part of the effort to make our island energy efficient and all electric.”
Our goal is to be Martha’s Vineyard’s premier plumbing and HVAC shop – we appreciate the opportunity to service, install, and rescue your air to water heat pump!