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HVAC School - For Techs, By Techs

Nov 17, 2017

Nate Adams joins the podcast to describe the method behind his madness of removing gas meters and installing heat pumps in Ohio. Nate is in the home performance business, and he focuses on its intersection with the HVAC industry

We typically find heat pumps in milder climates, so removing gas meters and replacing them with heat pumps is a bold move in cold climates. However, high-performance heat pumps have inverter technology, which allows them to run in colder climates without freezing over in the snow.

Nate predicts an eventual switch to heat pumps from fossil fuels. Heat pumps that rely on geothermal, solar, and other renewable energy sources will be much better for the environment than natural gas and oil. Backdrafting and CO issues are also nonexistent in heat pumps. However, we also have to consider domestic hot water and other appliances that use natural gas when we switch homes over to heat pump technology. When colder climates embrace electric heat pumps, they will have to prepare for increased dehumidification needs due to the moisture in the air during the spring and fall.

According to some tests run by Nate, fully electric systems model nicely and perform on par with gas furnaces in his Ohio climate. However, some people may object to heat pump installations because they prefer the comfort of gas furnaces. When you look at mean radiant temperature (MRT), surface temperature contributes most to human comfort. In that case, BTU output and load matching are what really matter, not the system type.

Nate and Bryan also discuss:

  • Equipment sizing for load conditions
  • Split systems and backup heat
  • Being theoretical vs. using real data
  • ACH50 vs. CFM50
  • High-efficiency furnaces and combustion air
  • Determining surface temps and MRT
  • Startup and commissioning of high-performance heat pumps
  • Dehumidification and reheat systems


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