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Basics & Theory

Energy Vanguard: 3 Types of Heat From Heat Pumps
Energy Vanguard says more people are using heat pumps these days, even in cold climates. They spell out the three different types of heat that conventional heat pumps provide.

Energy Vanguard: These Ain't Yer Grandpappy's Heat Pumps
Energy Vanguard says an NESEA Building Energy conference gave reasons why a lot of people in the cold climate of New England love heat pumps.

Energy Vanguard: What's the Name of The Outdoor Part of a Heat Pump?
Energy Vanguard looks at the basic terminology of air conditioning and heat pump systems.

HVAC School: HVAC/R Refrigerant Cycle Basics
HVAC School provides a basic overview of the refrigeration circuit and how it works. It is designed to assist a new technician or HVAC/R apprentice in understanding the fundamentals.

IEA HPC: Overview Of Heat Pump Technology
IEA Heat Pump Center gives general information about heat pumping technology. It explains why this technology is beneficial, how it works and what typical applications are. It also tells you about different types of heat pumps and different working fluids.

IRC: Report On Heat Pumps For Residential Heating
Canadian Institute for Research in Construction report has a good description of air source heat pumps, their performance, and comparison of costs with electric furnace. 1978

NRCan: Ductless Heating & Cooling
Natural Resources Canada provides information and resources on ductless mini split heat pump systems.

REW: Overview Of Geothermal Heat Pumps
Renewable Energy World article outlines how different types of heat pumps function and some of their main applications.
Information Sources

NRCan: Types Of Heating Equipment & Controls
Natural Resource Canada describes various types of residential heating systems and controls.

US DOE: Types Of Heat Pump Systems
US Department of Energy provides information on types of heat pump systems.
Issues & Performance

Advanced Energy: Field Performance of Mini-Split Heat Pumps
Advanced Energy report Field Performance of Mini-Split Heat Pumps in Low-Load Homes summarizes of real-world performance of nine low-load homes that contained mini-split heat pumps. The goals of the research were to understand the mini-splits' energy usage and evaluate how they affected comfort in the form of interior moisture.

Energy Vanguard: My Undersized Ducted Mini-Split Heat Pump
Energy Vanguard says undersizing his mini-split heat pump system hasn't resulted in uncomfortable conditions in his house (yet). He'll see how it goes as we get into hotter weather this summer and what happens when we have a real cold spell.

Energy Vanguard: Why Does My Heat Pump Frost Over?
Energy Vanguard describes why the outdoor unit of a heat pump will occasionally grow frost around the outside of the unit when it's in heating mode.

GBA: Low Carbon Footprint Of Minisplits
Green Building Advisor describes why heating with a minisplit heat pump is greener than heating with fossil fuels.

GBA: Minisplit Heat Pumps & Blizzards
Green Building Advisor says outdoor minisplit units that are mounted near grade can get buried by snow.

NIST: Analysis Of Installation Faults On Heat Pump Performance
US National Institute of Standards and Technology study Sensitivity Analysis of Installation Faults on Heat Pump Performance found that substantial equipment efficiency is lost due to design and installation deficiencies. It presents faulty practices commonly-performed by contractors and details the resultant additional energy consumption. (PDF)

P&M: You Don't Pay for COPs
Plumbing and Mechanical says COPs for heat pumps, like AFUE values for boilers and SEER ratings for air conditioners, are often presented as numbers that energy-conscious consumers should be very excited about. Thatís understandable from a sales perspective. However, the numbers that count are those your clients will see on their utility bills, and thereís no line item on those bills for COP.

PM Engineer: Comparing Heat Pump COPs
PM Engineer says the measure of a heat pumpís heating performance is called coefficient of performance (COP). Itís the ratio of useful heat output divided by required energy input, where both the output and input are expressed in the same physical units.

US DOE: Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pump Comfort Evaluation
US Department of Energy report Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pump Comfort Evaluation analyzed field measurements that yielded several comfort-related observations. (PDF)

Building Green: 7 Tips To Get More From Mini-Split Heat Pumps
Building Green provides 7 tips to get more from mini-split heat umps in colder climates.

Building Science: Mini Split Heat Pumps Lessons From The Field
Building Science online slide show presentations describes lessons from the field for mini split heat pumps. (PDF)

Energy Vanguard: Benefit Of Heat Pumps & Hydronics
Energy Vanguard says heat pumps and hydronics are a great team for high performance homes.

Energy Vanguard: Duct Systems on Low-Static Mini-Split Air Handlers
Energy Vanguard has written about the load calculation and equipment selection process for the Mitsubishi ducted mini-split heat pump. Here they take a look at the design and performance of the duct systems for the two air handlers.

Energy Vanguard: Shocking Truth About Heat Pumps
Energy Vanguard says the shocking truth about heat pumps is that they might well be a great fit for your home, or they might not. It depends. Are your priorities low energy bills, environmentally friendly energy sources, uniform heating with lower temperatures or short blasts of higher temperatures?

Energy Vanguard: Two Ways to Change Heat Pump Balance Point
Energy Vanguard describes two factors that can affect the heat pump balance point.

GBA: Backing Up a Minisplit Heating System
Green Building Advisor discusses considerations for using ceiling resistance heaters to supplement minisplits.

GBA: Economics Of Installing A Ductless Minisplit System
Green Building Advisor describes how a retrofit project decided to get rid of an oil boiler and install an air-source heat pump.

HGTV Remodels: 10 Key Features Of Heat Pump Systems
HGTV Remodels describes 10 key features of heat pump heating and cooling systems.

HPSC: Heat Pump Best Practices Installation Guide for Existing Homes
Home Performance Stakeholder Council has released their online Heat Pump Best Practices Installation Guide for Existing Homes. It provides heat pump installation contractors with general information on best practices for installation of a heat pump system and useful information to help educate and communicate with homeowners. It provides an overview of the key steps involved in heat pump system design and installation, including job-site survey and pre-changeout, system design, installation, commissioning, and homeowner education and maintenance. (PDF)

HPSC: Presentation on Heat Pump Best Practices Installation Guide for Existing Homes
BC Home Performance Stakeholder Council online slide show presentation is from their Webinar on the Heat Pump Best Practices Installation Guide for Existing Homes.

HPSC: Supplemental Resources for Heat Pump Best Practices Installation Guide
Home Performance Stakeholder Council has developed the online Supplemental Resources for their new Heat Pump Best Practices Installation Guide for Existing Homes. These resources include resources for homeowners and contractors. (PDF)

HVAC School: Basic Maintenance for Residential Electric Heat Pump
HVAC School lists the basic maintenance steps they use for residential electric heat pump systems.

HVAC School: Checking Charge on Heat Pump in Winter
HVAC School says when you ask many people nowadays how to check the charge on a heat pump during low outdoor temps they will say that you need to weigh in and weigh out the charge. While this may be an effective method it isn’t always practical.

NRCan: Free Heat Pump Pre-Screening Tool
NRCan free Heat Pump Pre-Screening Tool is software that provides rapid assessments of heat pump systems for a specific set of building parameters, with minimal input requirements. This means that feasibility studies can be better justified and focused on only the most promising technologies for a given multi-family or commercial project.

NRCan: Heating & Cooling With Heat Pump
Natural Resourses Canada Office of Energy Efficiency supplies information on both air-source and ground-source heat pumps and related equipment (including thermostats).

P&M: Outdoor Reset Control & Heat Pumps
Plumbing & Mechanical describes how to maximize both the heating capacity and COP of heat pumps using outdoor reset control.

Pembina Institute: Heat Pumps & Deep Retrofits
Pembina Institute webinar recordings discuss heat pump retrofit solutions, including projects underway and challenges unique to retrofitting heating systems.

US DOE: Long-Term Monitoring Of Mini-Split Ductless Heat Pumps
US Department of Energy report Long-Term Monitoring of Mini-Split Ductless Heat Pumps in the Northeast examined electrical, distributions of interior temperatures and humidity when using simplified (two-point, one per floor) heating systems in high-performance housing. It shows that simplified space conditioning distribution using MSHPs can provide excellent performance, however there are some cases and situations that designers should be aware of as potential failures. (PDF)

US DOE: Mini-Split Ductless Heat Pumps
Building America Solution Center describes features, benefits and considerations for selecting and installing mini-split ductless heat pumps.
Product Supply

GBA: Are Ductless Minisplits Overpriced?
Green Building Advisor says an installer’s estimate has one homeowner wondering whether he should install the unit himself.

NRCan: Search For Heat Pump Products & Ratings
Natural Resources Canada provides online search for heat pump brands and their energy efficiency ratings.

US DOE: Performance Of Ductless Heat Pumps In High-Performance Homes
US Department of Energy report Performance and Costs of Ductless Heat Pumps in Marine-Climate High-Performance Homes describes results of field testing, modeling, and monitoring of ductless mini-split heat pump hybrid heating systems in seven homes built and first occupied at various times between September 2013 and October 2014. It also documents observations, lessons learned, and stakeholder recommendations for builders of affordable high-performance housing. (PDF)
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