In our last article, Xringer had the refrigerant added to the heat pump and was able to power it up and use it for the first time. In this article we’ll look at the finishing touches he had to do to button everything up. Then, we’ll go over the results he has had with the heat pump.
To start out, Xringer had planned on using the heat pump not only for the air conditioning in summer, but also to reduce the use of his oil burning boiler that used to be his primary source of heat in winter. To keep the heat pump clear of snow, he made a simple frame out of PVC pipe. Then, he covered the frame with some corrugated plastic. The canopy was used all of last winter with the heat pump and did a great job of keeping the area around it clear of snow.
The next thing on the to do list was finish insulating and taping up the refrigerant lines. With the connections tested and known to be good, it was time to cover them up with insulation and tape. This will keep things running as efficiently as possible year round.
The last thing Xringer decided to do was to install an efergy energy measuring gauge. This helped him keep track of the power usage of the heat pump. This also helped him figure out how to best use the heat pump at its highest efficiency.
Speaking of energy measuring, Xringer did post some energy usage from the heat pump. He also compares it to the usage of his oil burning boiler. So, head on over to his forum thread to get an idea of his energy usage and results from the heat pump. He has almost a years worth of experience with the heat pump and has been nice enough to keep us updated with all the big and little issues that have crept up. I don’t think I’d be giving anything away, so I’ll sum up with the fact that Xringer has been incredibly happy with the heat pump.
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Now that both the indoor and outdoor unit had been installed, the heat pump was ready to be pressure tested. This ensures all the connections are good so that when the refrigerant is added it won’t leak out.
To test out his connections, Xringer decided to pressurise the system with nitrogen. So, first he hooked up the vacuum pump shown above and drew a good vacuum on the system to rid it of any moist air.
After there was a good vacuum pulled, he pressurized the system with the nitrogen to 200 psi. Using some liquid soap, he checked each connection to see if there was visible leakage. Then he left it over night. The next morning he came out to see it was still at 200 psi. He then tested it again at 400 psi doing the same thing and found everything was still good.
With the pressure testing all done, it was time to prepare the unit for the refrigerant. To do this, Xringer hooked up the vacuum pump once again and pulled a vacuum. This time, he hooked up a much more precise micron gauge for measuring vacuum. This is necessary to ensure that all the air and moisture is out of the system before putting refrigerant in.
After getting the system all vacuumed out and holding the vacuum at a steady pressure, Xringer had a HVAC professional come out to fill the system with R410a refrigerant. They followed the manual and put the refrigerant into the system. Once it was pressurized, they once again checked for leaks and found none.
With pretty much everything done, the HVAC guy left and Xringer was able to power up the heat pump for the first time! At the time it was about 46 degrees out and as you can see, the indoor unit was throwing out 120 degree air into the house.
Last time we looked at Xringer’s installation of the indoor unit. Next comes installing the outdoor unit. Its pretty straight forward, so lets dive right in.
The first step was to start connecting the lines outside. Xringer had already run the conduit for the lines, so he just had to connect them up to the line set that goes to the indoor unit.
After that, he tucked the outdoor line set into the conduit and positioned the lines so they were close to where the outdoor unit will sit. This does require bending the copper line which isn’t easy to bend considering the larger tubing is 5/8″. A tubing bender would come in handy to make this easier.
Of course the next step is mounting the outdoor unit. A few screws into the concrete with an aluminum bar through the feet of the unit keeps things held down.
Next up was to connect the refrigerant lines to the outdoor unit. This was quite easy as the lines didn’t need to be shortened. If Xringer had shortened them, he would have had to re-flare the ends of the tubing since the connectors use flared ends.
The last thing to hook up with the outdoor unit was the wiring. A few screw connections takes care of it all.
That is what it takes to physically install the indoor and outdoor units. As we move along in the series, we’ll look at pressure testing the units/connections and adding refrigerant to the system.
For more information on Xringer’s installation, see his forum thread.
Its been a while, but we’re back on the air source heat pump install series. This time we’re going to look at installing the indoor unit part of the system. The indoor unit is the blower that blows out warm or cold air. Its important to position the indoor unit in a good spot that will heat and cool the entire room (or more if thats what you want to use it for). Xringer positioned the unit centrally where it would do the most heating/cooling since he was planning on using this as a primary source of heating and cooling.
Using a stud finder, he laid out where the indoor unit would be mounted. Then, he drilled the hole that is needed to run the refrigeration and drain lines to the outdoor unit. Once the hole is cut, there are some plastic pieces to insert into the hole to help tidy things up and keep water out of the wall.
The next step was installing the mounting plate on the wall. A couple of screws to put in plus a level, and that was done.
Next up was runing power to the unit. After the wiring was done he hung the unit on the wall.
Now it was time to move to the outside and install the ducting for the line set.
With the ducting in place, the line set could be connected to the indoor unit and run to the outside. Xringer did have some issues fitting the bulky foam and hoses through the wall, but it eventually cam through. Once through the wall, he bent them down over a wooden dowel (to avoid kinking) to follow the ducting.
Next time, we’ll go into installing the outdoor unit.
For more information, see Xringer’s forum thread.
Now that we know what a heat pump is and what it does, its time to get down to work!
The first step Xringer took before he even received the unit was to look into what would be needed to get the job done. He did a lot of research and digging for the information and tools he would need. Check out his forum thread for more info. He ended up needing the following special tools for this project.
- vacuum pump
- torque wrench
- vacuum gauge
- refrigerant manifold
- flaring tool
Next, he selected a location that would be relatively close to where the interior heat exchanger was located. This keeps the lines between the inside and outside unit short, and reduces the cost of the install. Once he selected the location, he learned that he had to move his water spout over a bit to get it out of the way (see above). He then poured a concrete pad to mount the outside unit on.
The last thing to do in preparation for the install was get electricity to the outside unit. Using the old water spout hole, Xringer mounted an electrical box to connect the heat pump’s electrical connections.
With these few things taken care of, things were ready to start being put together.