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Natural Gas Heat Pump Experiences?

Heat Pump Natural Gas

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8 replies to this topic

#1 EricEE

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 08:10 AM

Has anyone had experience with a natural gas heat pump? Engine driven, not absorption type like the large commercial units used to be: http://ecovaire.com/press.asp

The systems look very good, and just like the mini-split systems that were available decades before outside the US and are now finally starting to take off here, this looks like another vastly superior technology that is is only just now starting to trickle into the US :teehee:

I currently have an AC/Natural Gas split system on my basement/1st floor, and an electric heat pump for the second floor. The heat pump up stairs is flaking out on me, and if I have to replace it I really like the idea of putting in something allot more efficient. The natural gas units are also multi-zone so I could also replace my downstairs unit and dramatically lower my electric bill in the summer too.

The main problem with stuff like this since it's new, it's hard finding installers that are familiar with tech like this or that are even willing to talk to you...

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#2 EricEE

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 02:23 PM

Fascinating - it appears Southwest Gas in Las Vegas (where I grew up, ironically) in collaboration with Oak Ridge Labs are working on a smaller, higher efficiency absorption based unit - cool! Hehe - pardon the pun...

http://machinedesign...hanical channel)

#3 EricEE

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 02:33 PM

Oh yeah, I forgot to post this - the tech specs and - geek alert - the service manual :)

http://dealer.iceghp.../item.cfm?num=1

#4 Shootist

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 08:21 AM

Years ago York came out with a natural gas powered compressor that they called the "Triathilon". They didn't last long on the market since no one ever bothered to properly maintain the engine (Most homeowners wont call for any kind of service until the A/C breaks). It would be interesting to see if someone brings the technology back.

#5 EricEE

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 11:14 PM

Years ago York came out with a natural gas powered compressor that they called the "Triathilon". They didn't last long on the market since no one ever bothered to properly maintain the engine (Most homeowners wont call for any kind of service until the A/C breaks). It would be interesting to see if someone brings the technology back.


If you look at their service intervals, it's 3, 6, 9 and 11 years. And I must admit, as I was reading through the service manual the thought of changing oil on my heat pump was a little amusing :)

They are in the US. My upstairs unit is making a fuss. If there is a company authorized to install in my area and if the cost is not completely outrageous (like triple replacing a traditional electric unit) I may just roll the dice. I also like that I can replace both my 4 ton units with this, and I would be gaining a heat pump for my downstairs unit and greatly improved efficiency for my upstairs unit (from recycling the engine heat).

#6 Shootist

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 08:49 PM

Give it a couple of years to make sure they get the bugs worked out. About 14 years ago I got caught up with these new water-cooled condensing units called the AC2. Thank god I only sold 8 of them. They looked great on paper but I ended up having to replace all of them with 12 SEER units after several months in service and refunding the difference to these customers. Not to mention the 10-15 warranty calls per unit before I starting pulling them.

#7 EricEE

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 08:14 PM

Give it a couple of years to make sure they get the bugs worked out.


Normally I am with you, but this is mature technology in Japan and Asia. Then again, it doesn't mean we have installers that know how to install 'em over here :sillytongue:

#8 Shootist

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 08:58 PM

Google "Ecovaire".
The only info I can find are introductory announcements and emerging technology-type papers from 2009. Many links are from the company itself. No new company press releases since 2009. No product tests, no long-term testing, no customer reviews, no comments, nothing. "The Ä“covaire unit is being distributed exclusively in North America by All Air Systems and Team Consulting." The only "All Air Systems" I can find is an HVAC contractor in St. Louis, MO. that doesn't seem to have any afiliation with Ecovaire. The domain name www.teamconsulting.net is for sale. The same guy is also marketing these same units as "Nextaire". A little shady?
Sounds really neat but I don't think you should be trying to get one of these anytime soon.

Edited by Shootist, 16 April 2012 - 09:13 PM.


#9 Daveb1972

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 12:18 PM

I have heard rumors of CO2 as a refrigerant as well as some absorpsion (brine based)systems for residential.... Nothing solid yet....speaking of too soon to market, Complete Heat, lennox...
That which does not kill me only makes me stronger.....at this rate I'll be invincible by Tuesday!




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