Researchers at Purdue University are working on a new research project that promises the potential to cut heating bill in half for folks who reside in very cold climates. The study, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, builds on previous work that began about five-years ago at Purdue’s Ray W. Herrick Laboratories.
Heat pumps provide heating in winter and cooling in summer but aren’t efficient in extreme cold climates. The published research involves changes to the way heat pumps operate to ensure they are more cost-effective in extreme cold temperatures.
The revolutionary technology works by modifying the traditional vapor-compression cycle behind standard air-con and refrigeration.
The common vapor-compression cycle has four stages:
- Refrigerant is compressed as a vapor
- Condenses into a liquid
- Expands to a combination of liquid and vapor
- Then evaporates
The project will investigate two cooling approaches throughout the compression process. In one approach, relatively a lot of oil are injected into the compressor to absorb heat generated through the compression stage. In the second approach, a combination of liquid and vapor refrigerant from the expansion stage is injected at various points during compression to provide cooling.
The new heat pumps might be half as expensive to perform as heating technologies now employed in cold regions where gas is unavailable and residents rely on electric heaters and liquid propane.
In the meanwhile here some ideas to improve you home air quality and save energy:
- Be certain your thermostat is located in a place that is not too cold or hot.
- Install an automatic timer to maintain the thermostat at 68 degrees in daytime and 55 degrees at night.
- Use storm or thermal windows in colder areas. The layer of air between the windows acts as insulation helping to maintain the heat inside the places you want it.
- If you haven’t already, insulate your attic and all outside walls.
- Insulate floors over unheated spaces like your basement, any crawl spaces plus your garage.
- Close off the attic, garage, basement, spare bedrooms and storage areas. Heat only those rooms that you use.
- Seal gaps around any pipes, wires, vents or other openings that could transfer your heat to areas that are not heated.
- Dust is a wonderful insulator and tends to build up on radiators and baseboard heat vents.
A lot of people have no idea that common indoor air quality practices lower home air heating costs too:
- Rain and moist may bring moisture indoors, creating dampness, fungus — big problems for healthy indoor air. Check your roof, foundation and basement or crawlspace one per year to catch leaks or moisture problems and route water away from your home’s foundation.
- Help to keep asthma triggers away from your property by fixing leaks and drips once they start. Standing water and high humidity encourage the growth of dust mites, fungus — probably the most common triggers that can worsen asthma. Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner if needed, and clean both regularly.
- High amounts of moisture at home increase dampness and the growth of mold, which not only damage your home but threaten health. Install and run exhaust fans in bathrooms to get rid of unhealthy moisture and odors from your home.
- Ventilate your kitchen stove directly outside or open a kitchen window when you cook. Keeping exhaust — including cooking odors and particles — outside of your home prevents dangerous fumes and particles from harming you or your family.
About the guest author: Rosalind Dall writes for the ductless air conditioners blog, her personal hobby blog focused entirely on guidelines to help people consume less energy and purify indoor air.