Customized controller increases heat pump efficiency

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Heat pumps are an extremely efficient way to maintain climate control in a building. Unlike traditional air conditioners, heat pumps can also effectively work in reverse to heat a home in the winter and cool it in the summer; with up to five times the energy consumption efficiency of a traditional electric heater. Even with those huge performance gains, there are still some ways to improve them, such as: [Martin] shows us some of the changes he made to his heat pump system.

This particular heat pump is not used for climate control but for water heating, which sees similar improvements in efficiency over a standard boiler. The problem with [Martin]It was even when it just ran way too often. After tracking down the energy losses and trying a number of things, including a one-way valve on the heating water pipes to prevent siphoning, he eventually found that the heat pump reached maximum temperature once a day, even when the water tank was already warm. By building a custom master controller for the heat pump that includes some time relays, the heat pump only runs at its maximum temperature once a week.

While there is some concern about the Legionella bacteria if the system is not properly maintained, this change still meets all of Australia’s strict building regulations. His build is more of a research journey into a more complex piece of machine, and his efforts give him a maximum energy consumption of about 1 kWh per day, which is 50% more efficient than when it was first installed. If you want to learn more about heat pumps, check out this DIY Arduino-controlled mini heat pump.

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