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Green Energy Services - Residential - Reverse Cycle Chiller

Reverse Cycle Chillers
Residential reverse cycle chillers can provide heating and cooling with efficiencies that are similar to those of geothermal heat pumps without the expensive cost of drilling holes in the ground for geothermal ground loops.

Air-source heat pumps provide efficient heating when outdoor conditions are moderately cool, but lose capacity in very cold weather when auxiliary heat is required, typically supplied by less efficient electric resistance strips. The hydronic "Reverse Cycle Chillerâ„¢ (RCC)" heat pump uses hot water as the source for auxiliary heating demands. The manufacturer claims that the RCC will supply residential heating with greater comfort and improved cost-efficiency, even when exterior temperatures are below zero.
The Reverse Cycle Chiller uses a high efficiency heat pump to heat or chill a glycol/water solution for residential heating and cooling. Photo credit: Aqua Products Company
Heat pumps work by circulating a working fluid, or refrigerant, which vaporizes at a low temperature (in the evaporator), producing additional energy in the process. A compressor further concentrates the warmed vapor, raising it to a temperature where it can be circulated through an air handler and used for heating. When the cycle reverses, heat is pumped from indoors to out, as with standard air conditioner Traditionally, heat pumps have been sized to cooling loads and used where outdoor temperatures rarely fall below freezing. As outdoor temperatures drop below freezing, there is less heat available for efficient extraction by the evaporator.

The Reverse Cycle Chiller, produced by Aqua Products Company, Inc. uses a highly efficient heat exchanger to transfer energy to a water line, achieving temperatures up to 120 degrees in the heating mode, and down to 50 degrees in cooling mode. The water line can then supply a central air handler, a radiant floor heating system or multiple zoned air handlers. This configuration allows the system to be sized for heating loads rather than typically smaller cooling loads. On its return trip towards the evaporator, the water replenishes a super-insulated tank that serves as a "thermal flywheel," replacing resistance strips as the auxiliary heat source, and supplying heat for the defrost cycle. The system is said to supply a more consistent, comfortable level of heating that operates efficiently, even at temperatures below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

The technology applied in the Reverse Cycle Chiller is not new. Similar larger scale systems have been in operation for decades in commercial, institutional, and industrial applications, but this hydronic heat pump configuration has not typically been used for single-family residential units.


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