Is Your Commercial Heat Pump Appropriately Sized to Handle Office Temperature Needs?
In a commercial environment, a heat pump can be a highly efficient and effective source of cooling, heating and dehumidification. Offices, retail stores and similar environments will benefit from the economical and energy-efficient indoor comfort provided by a heat pump.
When selecting a heat pump for your commercial facility, one of the more important considerations is sizing. Sizing does not refer to the system’s physical dimensions. Instead, it involves choosing a heat pump that will provide the amount of cooling and heating needed for your specific facility. A properly sized heat pump system will generate excellent indoor comfort while being neither wasteful of energy nor overly stressful on the equipment. Basic heat pump function
Heat pumps work by moving heat from place to place, taking it away from where it’s not wanted (such as out of your office in the summer) and releasing it where it’s needed (such as in that same office during the winter). Heat transfer is accomplished using a refrigerant that absorbs heat when it changes state from liquid to gas, and releases heat when it’s compressed and returned to its liquid form. The refrigerant is circulated through a series of indoor and outdoor coils where the heat exchange takes place. A reversing valve reverses the flow of refrigerant when the system needs to switch from heating to cooling or vice versa.
Heat pump benefits
- Efficiency: Because heat pumps use electricity at optimum efficiency for their basic operation, they are relatively inexpensive sources of both heating and cooling. These types of systems can produce heating at an amazingly high level, delivering as much as 300 percent more heat energy than the electrical input. Cooling efficiency levels rival those of high-effiency A/Cs.
- Economical operation: The efficiency levels of heat pumps mean they cost less to operate, usually producing cooling and heating at a lower cost than other systems. We say “usually” since natural gas-fueled heating systems currently are relatively inexpensive due to market forces.
- Quiet and clean: Heat pumps run very quietly. Since they don’t burn fossil fuels, they do not produce exhaust fumes or greenhouse gases.
Heat pump sizing
A heat pump must be correctly sized to provide adequate temperature control and indoor comfort for your office. If the system is too small, it won’t produce enough heating and cooling and will likely wear out sooner from overuse. If it’s too big, it will generate heating and cooling too quickly, and as a result will cycle on and off frequently, wasting energy and resources, and not providing adequate humidity control or air filtration. A properly sized heat pump will keep your indoor spaces at the temperature and humidity you prefer without being wasteful or ineffective. Sizing your heat pump requires knowing how much heating and cooling is needed in your commercial space. The best way to determine this information is through a load calculation. A commercial load calculation takes into consideration factors that can affect heating and cooling in your office area, such as:
- Local climate and typical seasonal temperatures.
- Size and layout of building.
- Number and location windows.
- Number of heat-generating lights and equipment.
- Directional orientation of building.
- Building seal and insulation level.
- Condition and seal of ductwork.
- Landscaping that could affect building temperature.
- Occupant temperature preferences.
Your HVAC contractor can perform a load calculation on your office building or commercial facility to determine the amount of cooling and heating needed. With this information, your contractor can then make expert recommendations on the size and type of heat pump system to purchase and install. Make sure your contractor uses industry-accepted standards and procedures when conducting the load calculation.
The most common source is Manual N, “Commercial Load Calculation,” published by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). This manual contains all the technical data, procedures and techniques needed to calculate heating and cooling loads. Keep in mind that most load calculations are not done manually, but are instead performed using computer software that takes care of complex mathematical functions and reduces errors.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial and Residential settings. For more information on heat pumps and the proper sizing of heat pump systems, or to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!