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Old 21.07.2014, 16:27
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Air source Heat pumps

Hello, I am getting a new heating system installed in a chalet and I am choosing between an air source heat pump or mazout (air pump or mazout heats water that heats under flooring heating or radiators). However, it is really difficult to choose between the two. The systems cost more or less the same to install, but I have been told by the heating engineer that the Air pump is much more efficient and so I will have lower energy bills, and that's a positive. But I am really worried about the noise with the air pump. Does anyone have an air pump heat source that can comment on this aspect?
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Old 21.07.2014, 16:42
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Re: Air source Heat pumps

Heat pumps do make some noise. However, under normal circumstances, its not too loud within the home if well insulated. At a distance of about 10m outside, the noise would be minimal.

I think the bigger issue with the heat pump will be that it will absolutely need a supplemental source since winters in CH can be quite harsh (below freezing). Where you might gain the benefit of AC in the summer with a heat pump, the relative efficiency for that pump to keep up in the winter will be low I'm afraid as the unit would need to cycle continuously.

In general, a heat pump is more efficient...if the temperatures are right outside. This might work in the lowlands. But if your chalet is above the fog, you might want to consider the other option.

hope that helps
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Old 21.07.2014, 16:53
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Re: Air source Heat pumps

Thank you for the advice. I would have a wood burner so that would help in winter, but after the 10m comment I'm thinking Mazout. Mainly because I don't have 10meters, so it will be a lot closer that!
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Old 21.07.2014, 17:05
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Re: Air source Heat pumps

Actually don't know what I have relating to your two options, but always considered it to be an air heat pump.

I have an exterior Mitsubishi twin double-decker fan unit, which through the wonders of things I know not, produces, via the unit in the cellar and it's condenser, hot water for underfloor heating in winter, cold water for underfloor cooling in summer and, separately, hot water, stored in the tank for normal household consumption.

The fans make noise similar to that of a car electrical fan, cooling on a hot day, after the engine has been switched off - it is obviously noticeable but not too obtrusive.
I can set the percentage effectiveness of fan speed - 100% yielding the most noise. I think mine is set around 60%, which seems fine.

Cost wise, it appears to be relatively economical, but I have no other source of comparison.

The outside fan unit is less than a meter (60cm?) from my wall, and in the quiet of evening and night is slightly audible immediately on the other side, but not a problem.

The previous winter, even at just over 600m, we experienced temperatures of less than -10, dropping as low as -20, and we (well me at least) were warm enough - but we do have a Swedish oven for supplementary heating, but has only been occasionally used for aesthetic reasons, mainly.

Last edited by TiMow; 21.07.2014 at 17:18.
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Old 21.07.2014, 17:10
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Re: Air source Heat pumps

That sounds like an air source heat pump! A car fan doesn't sound too bad! Do you live in a house or an appartment. Also do you have underfloor heating? Finally, do find that it works well or are you cold in winter when the temperature is very low?. As you may have guessed I am having a problem making a decision!
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Old 21.07.2014, 17:17
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Re: Air source Heat pumps

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That sounds like an air source heat pump! A car fan doesn't sound too bad! Do you live in a house or an appartment. Also do you have underfloor heating? Finally, do find that it works well or are you cold in winter when the temperature is very low?. As you may have guessed I am having a problem making a decision!
I added a bit to my above post, and as mentioned, underfloor heating/cooling.

A house, exterior dimensions of 9m x 11m, two storeys (+ unheated cellar), with the upstairs rooms having high angled ceilings to about 4m in height at the apex.
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Old 21.07.2014, 17:18
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Re: Air source Heat pumps

We also have an air source heat pump for our underfloor heating and hot water and find it to be very efficient.
The fan noise is barely noticeable outside and can't be heard at all from inside the house. It heats the house really well and we found we even had to sometimes open the windows in the middle of winter in the rooms which get the sun during the day as they got very warm.
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Old 21.07.2014, 17:24
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Re: Air source Heat pumps

Thanks again. The heat pump is sounding better all the time!
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Old 21.07.2014, 17:33
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Re: Air source Heat pumps

Before you get too far gone on comparisons... if this is supposed to be an outside heat pump you might want to check your local noise regulations.
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Old 21.07.2014, 17:35
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Re: Air source Heat pumps

noise regulations...and I'm back to the mazout!
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Old 21.07.2014, 17:48
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Re: Air source Heat pumps

We have had a built-in air heat-pump in our cellar for the last 6 years in a new house. In short it is excellent! It heats the house and hot water for less than CHF400 a year.

It has never been serviced as our architect said a service contract at CHF500/year was not necessary. Nothing has failed as yet, thought it did need quite a bit of balancing/adjusting in the first few months.

What you should be aware of is that retro fitted pumps mounted outside are noisy (as mentioned above) and more importantly as the water can only be heated to a maximum of about 60°C, radiators do not work well or efficiently with a heat pump. Underfloor heating is essential where the water temperature need only be heated to 30°C when it's -10° outside.

I know of two people who upgraded from oil to heat pump and could not heat their houses with existing radiators over 15° when it was -10° outside...
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Old 21.07.2014, 17:49
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Re: Air source Heat pumps

We have just installed a Stiebel Eltron air source heat pump on the advice of our architect, and we will commission it in the next few days. We asked about noise, and were advised that it wouldn't be noticeable within the house. Our exterior unit sits beside our garage, so we have that as a 'buffer', but the truth is that most Swiss houses are so well insulated that you don't notice the noise at all.

Also don't listen to the scare stories about it not being warm enough -- any specialist worth his salt will do the calculations to make sure you've got adequate heating capacity. In our case, our heat pump is capable of generating heat down to a temperature of -15C (and we could have purchased a model that goes to -20C). Below that temperature, but much less efficient, we have a resistance heating system that automatically supplements the heat pump. We also have reversible air conditioners in the bedroom that can be used to generate heat if it really gets that cold.

We're only at 650m, and our house is well insulated so we're willing to take the chance that we won't get a long stretch when it's colder than -15C for days on end. If we do, for a few days a year, we'll wear a sweater.

The energy savings for the heat pump are considerable, and the added advantage is that it's also reversible so can be used for cooling in the summer.
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Old 21.07.2014, 18:04
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Re: Air source Heat pumps

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We have had a built-in air heat-pump in our cellar for the last 6 years in a new house. In short it is excellent! It heats the house and hot water for less than CHF400 a year.

It has never been serviced as our architect said a service contract at CHF500/year was not necessary. Nothing has failed as yet, thought it did need quite a bit of balancing/adjusting in the first few months.

What you should be aware of is that retro fitted pumps mounted outside are noisy (as mentioned above) and more importantly as the water can only be heated to a maximum of about 60°C, radiators do not work well or efficiently with a heat pump. Underfloor heating is essential where the water temperature need only be heated to 30°C when it's -10° outside.

I know of two people who upgraded from oil to heat pump and could not heat their houses with existing radiators over 15° when it was -10° outside...
Not quite accurate - there are special radiators designed for lower temperature heating. They are slightly more bulky, but function well with max. 55 degrees.

I renovated an 80 yr. old house, with wooden floors, so underfloor heating was not an option.

I was advised for heat pump heating (bore hole/water), and our heating contractor sourced these radiators. As long as insulation is good then heating works fine ..... but low ceilings probably helped.

Our radiators were similar to this one - can be vertically (as was for the bathroom) or horizontally mounted. Size was room volume dependant, and a couple of rooms required two.
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Old 21.07.2014, 20:33
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Re: Air source Heat pumps

Thank you to everyone for the advice. I just confirmed and the heat pump would be an indoor one, and the heating person swears it will be quiet. In fact what he said fits with what you have all said. So I think I'll go with the air heat pump. I'll let you know if I freeze in the winter:msnshock
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Old 21.07.2014, 21:26
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Re: Air source Heat pumps

We have an air heat pump and have to say that the efficiencies are less obvious when you have a large cubic meterage to heat - our bills are around 1500 chf a quarter (we also heat a pool) - but the house is big (heated envelope 320 m2) and the ceilings are high and the comparison with oil heating is still beneficial. We supplement with solar panels and are due next year to install photovoltaic panels - the ducting being built in at the time of construction.

We struggle with keeping the house at a temperature that is comfortable - in that it is usually too hot! Yes, even in winter. We have supplementary resistance heating for short days with little sun. I am sitting outside now and the pompe à chaleur is running - I am 4m away but around the corner and cannot hear it at all. Your pump will be installed in a "dead" area - ie back of house or around by the garage, so the fact that you need to be within about 4 m to hear it (10m is in my opinion not correct) is neither here nor there.
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Old 21.07.2014, 21:46
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Re: Air source Heat pumps

I was also concerned with the noise of an air source heat pump - which is mounted externally. But it is very quiet. In fact it is quieter than our old oil heating both inside (you dont hear it) and outside. There are noise calculations to be done if you get formal approval, but it's fairly standard stuff - distance to neighbours windows, noise levels calculated there etc.
Our approval costs from the gemeinde were about SFr1000.
Make sure it is sized properly and there's no problem in winter. We have constant 23-24 degrees, and pay about half what we did in oil. Payback time of extra costs about 15 years over replacing with oil heating.
THere will be a calculation for KW based on how much oil you used before, and then a graph where you put in min temp in winter and you get the model to use.
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Old 14.11.2014, 16:45
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Re: Air source Heat pumps

My wife and I have recently bought a house from the 60's and we are starting to look for heating solutions. The house has a wood burning fire in the kitchen and some electric radiators. We are hoping to tear out the fireplace, associated chimney and wall to open the place up. We would also lose the electric radiators. The house has no existing piping for radiators so which ever option we choose, we expect some cost.
My question therefore is whether or not an air heat pump would be a solution for the heating? It is not a big house (2 floors of living and a small basement) and has new triple glazed windows throughout, and a newly insulated ceiling. The other possibility is running heating from gas ..... as we have a mains line right past the house.

Also we are not exactly sure where to start with the decision making.. do we just start by asking all the heating installers in the area for their advice? The house in Interlaken so if anyone has any experience here, please help.

Tim
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Old 14.11.2014, 17:04
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Re: Air source Heat pumps

Hello Timmay,

It sounds like you are in the exact same situation that my husband and I were.

We asked 3 heating engineers for their advice and for quotes. In the end we went for the inside air heat pump solution because it will have cheaper running costs and the installation price was not so different (although we are also getting underfoor heating fitted because we needed to do the floors so took advantage). We are still in the middle of renovations so I cannot recommend or not recommend it as yet. Once it is up and runing I'll post. I hope it will turn out well

Good luck
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Old 14.03.2015, 19:43
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Re: Air source Heat pumps

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We have an air heat pump and have to say that the efficiencies are less obvious when you have a large cubic meterage to heat - our bills are around 1500 chf a quarter (we also heat a pool) - but the house is big (heated envelope 320 m2) and the ceilings are high and the comparison with oil heating is still beneficial. We supplement with solar panels and are due next year to install photovoltaic panels - the ducting being built in at the time of construction.

We struggle with keeping the house at a temperature that is comfortable - in that it is usually too hot! Yes, even in winter. We have supplementary resistance heating for short days with little sun. I am sitting outside now and the pompe à chaleur is running - I am 4m away but around the corner and cannot hear it at all. Your pump will be installed in a "dead" area - ie back of house or around by the garage, so the fact that you need to be within about 4 m to hear it (10m is in my opinion not correct) is neither here nor there.
I am considering an air source heat pump for our indoor pool and I would be interetsed to know which ASHP people have or recommend? In the UK I have been recommended either Calorex or Duratech for use here in Switzerland (at 1200m) but the Swiss company I spoke with recommends a smaller Hayward (US) heat pump. I would also like to eventually retrofit the chalet with underfloor heating and run a heat pump for heating the house and domestic hot water. I know quite a bit about the subject from UK research, but the Swiss seem to have different ideas. So any input would be gratefully received. Also do I need any permits to have a heat pump? I know our neighbours will complain, as they complain about everything (and have done for the last 28 years!) Thanks in advance.
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