Hughes Views #5 Heat Pump has Risen

Not many days do we technicians get all the free time in the world to analyze a problem.  When we are on someone else’s dime, we must be mindful of our time spent on the job.  Well, all bets go out the window when it is your own system and it’s a Sunday.  To make things even better, the weather is below design temperatures (It doesn’t get much juicier than that!).  Well, that is just what happened on February 15, 2021.  My wife got her Valentine’s present yesterday, and today I got mine. It was freezing outside, and my three kids were wrecking the house as if we were hosting a “Running of the Bulls”.  Needless to say, I was searching for something to occupy myself, or I was going to start putting kids in permanent time-out.   

Here we go! The news is saying that I am about to get some bone chilling, cold ass weather!  The weather where even our hunting community will not go into the woods, and if you know anything about Louisiana outdoorsmen, that’s pretty darn cold.  Now stop, let’s discuss the HVAC system I have in my house.  This past summer, the Hughes team installed a Daikin 17 SEER heat-pump FIT system.  Let me paint the full picture….1970 model house, blower door measurement is approximately 7 air changes per hour. Yeah, this house is as loose as a goose.  My only saving grace on this is that my home sits on a slab rather than piers with no insulation.  Let me add, this is a vertical install and my ducts as well as my air handler are exposed to the unconditioned space.

I know what you are here for so let us get to it, heat pump run data.  Well, I am cheap, so If you are looking for data logging analytics, look somewhere else.  This data logging is done in person.  Using all five senses including the sixth sense that I cannot explain, I was the data logger today.  Here is the how the human data log plays out………I get up, get dressed for work, as if I were going somewhere, knowing that was not going to happen.  Forget Covid-19, you want to shut down Louisiana, let one snow flurry fall out the sky and you will not have public school for a week.  The temperature outside drops to 32 degrees, and I realize that this has approached my design temperature, Fascinating!!! As Jim Rohn says, “Fascination is one step beyond interest.  Interested people want to know if it works.  Fascinated people want to learn how it works.” ……. isn’t that right, Bill Spohn? If you are a technician who is not interested in watching and observing your newly installed system operating at design temperatures, THEN YOU SHOULD FIND A NEW CAREER!  This my friends, is as fascinating as it gets.

My ongoing report of this heat pump action on social media, prompted calls from various representatives and friendly competitors.  They wanted to know how it stood to the test.  Why is this important, well it is not like inverter heat pumps have been around forever.  Heat pumps for cold weather in our trade can be a bit taboo, but inverters have changed the game.  Let me give you an idea of how this inverter operates.  With the system having a variable capacity compressor and fans that are running in conjunction with communicating circuit boards, they are creating magic.  A truly peak performance demand defrost, unlike timed and basic demand defrost that we have been used to, has changed operating temperatures from around 32 degrees Fahrenheit to some applications that can be reached below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.  Why is this so important may you ask?  Next time you crank up your electric heat, look at you next electric bill.  As my heat pump may draw an average of 8 to 13 amps depending on current capacity, 10KW of electric heat is going to draw upwards to 40 amps.

I leave you with this statement.  I am currently watching the news and I see Texas with no power, could problems stem from over usage of utilities in the lone star state?  I wonder what would have happened if most of these homes would have had inverter heat pumps?  If you are to build a super energy efficient house, the idea is to reduce usage as much as possible, then choose your method to “feed the need”.  I cannot help but feel as American’s that we are playing the game ass backwards.  As I am watching TV tonight, I cannot help but think what Texas could have been spared.

Chris Hughes of Madisonville, Louisiana is a mechanical contractor, writer, HVAC enthusiast, and founder of Hughes Mechanical Contractors and The HVAC Grapevine.  He also writes and hosts The HVAC Grapevine Podcast.  You can follow him by joining his Facebook group or by subscribing to The HVAC Grapevine Podcast.  For any questions, he may be reached at

25th Jul 2023 Guest Blogger- Christopher Hughes

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