Heat pumps

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Got a question regarding the realistic heat output from heat pumps.
Friend of mine living in South Texas has a hydronic heat pump system. Essentially a radiator run off a water heater providing the air handler the source of heat.
Overnight temps typically in the 30's. Daytime temps from the mid 50's to low 70's. Indoors the house struggles to reach 69 degrees.
I understand that heat pump systems aren't as effective as gas fired furnaces in generating heat but does this sound a bit weak?
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On 01/20/2016 7:51 AM, Chiefjim wrote:

What does this have to do with heat pump? No heat pump in sight here; and there's nothing anyways close to enough information to judge where the problems are with the system. Could be simply not a large enough water heater, could be it's large enough but the heat exchanger isn't sized adequately or the water flow or simply the setpoint is too low. Or, perhaps the house isn't insulated and is as leaky as a sieve; no way to know.
But, whatever it is, comparing to a heat pump isn't the answer.
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On Wednesday, January 20, 2016 at 9:08:47 AM UTC-5, dpb wrote:

I assume what he means is that it's a hydronic system that uses an air source heat pump designed for that purpose. And if it's struggling at those temps, it's not good. But like you say, not much info to go on. Like how old? Heat pumps have gotten a lot more efficient and capable of delivering heat at lower outside temps in recent years. And are being used in more places in place of propane or oil systems. Certainly a heat pump system should work well in South TX climate.
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On Wednesday, January 20, 2016 at 8:19:42 AM UTC-6, trader_4 wrote:

You are correct. I was mistaken when using the words heat pump. System is hydronic only.
Curious does the water systems on these require any direct maintenance? Such as in hot water baseboard systems some require bleeding of air. Anything like that needed for hydronic systems?
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I think the OP is describing something like an Apollo system, where there isn't a separate boiler for heat, but a large domestic hot water heater that runs through the heating coils.
I was skeptical until I saw one installed but that worked fine, in the Virginia climate. If this one isn't keeping up with the Texas climate then something is malfunctioning.
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On Wednesday, January 20, 2016 at 11:33:38 AM UTC-6, TimR wrote:

Tim
I should have included that detail. Yes the hot water source is a single large water heater. Following instructions left by the previous owner I opened the valve to allow the water to flow.
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On 1/20/16 1:47 PM, Chiefjim wrote:

My general contractor-- a guy who's being doing excellent work for me for over 30 years-- says he's never met a homeowner who ended up happy with a heat pump. He quit installing them many years ago.
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On Wednesday, January 20, 2016 at 2:12:23 PM UTC-5, Wade Garrett wrote:

Comfort and low cost to operate - what's not to like? I wouldn't want one in Wisconsin but about anywhere south of there they work fine.
Er, provided you size them correctly and install them correctly. I know you're happy with your contractor but perhaps this wasn't his skill set.
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On 01/20/2016 3:12 PM, TimR wrote:

And, even in WI, a ground-source rather than air-source will be work well (albeit at some additional initial installation cost).
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Guess that it depends on where one is at. I am happy with mine and so are lots of others in the area. Most days are above 30 deg F in the winter. It does get cold at night. Last two nights was about 15 deg and with the thermostat set at 68 during the night, it seemed to stay there during the night.
If one is where it is below 25 deg most of the winter, then it may pay to look into other sources of heat, or if the electricity is very expensive.
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On Wednesday, January 20, 2016 at 3:12:27 PM UTC-6, TimR wrote:

I live in the upper Mid-South and in a 600 s.f. addition I had built onto the back of my house 8 years ago I had a heat pump installed. The heat pump does a great job on the addition and it's always toasty warm back there. I was a bit skeptical at first as the original portion of the house has a central gas unit installed but I've been very happy with the heat pump.
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On 1/20/16 4:12 PM, TimR wrote:

Considering the comments to my post...could be...
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On 01/21/2016 9:32 AM, Wade Garrett wrote:

Your guy may be different, but I never meet a general contractor who, without real pressure from the client which doesn't happen on anything except a custom build or a spec-built contracted for sale, didn't use the cheapest system he could get. House in TN was that way when we bought it; the initial HP (air exchange) was minimally sized and very low efficiency and we were, consequently, much like your homeowner class above. Was our first experience with a heat pump; we were not impressed.
But, when it failed after some 15 year or so, we still didn't have NG in the subdivision and weren't any time _real_soon_now_ (tm) and didn't really much cotton to having to have the LP tank so we bit the bullet and installed a ground-source HP (Water Furnace brand). While the excavation cost was high because we had to do it around existing drain fields, etc., etc., instead of as part of new construction, when finished it outperformed the old HP even on its best, early-life efficiency by at least a third plus with the waste heat from A/C cycle for hotwater option, it supplied essentially "free" hot water during warm weather. And, exit air temp's from the floor vents, while not quite what one gets from gas/oil forced air, were warm enough there was none of that "chill factor" effect one got from the air-exchange unit that was just above room temperature. Plus, the backup resistance heating units were tied into an outside thermistor to keep them from kicking on at anything above 15F or so and even on the few days there down to 0F they never kicked on.
Newer air-exchange units are far better now that 35 year ago or so when this system was new, but if I were doing new construction anywhere that cheap NG isn't available I'd surely investigate thoroughly the option of ground source HP.
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Chiefjim posted for all of us...

Doesn't sound good. Has he had it serviced lately? What is the age of the system and building? Leaky windows will cut performance. Did he have satisfaction operation last heating season?
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On 1/20/2016 11:56 AM, Chiefjim wrote:

What's the fuel source? Now that I'm dead, I can check and see if it will be available for a while longer.
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On Wednesday, January 20, 2016 at 11:56:08 AM UTC-5, Chiefjim wrote:

Hydronic and what fuel source? You said it was run off a water heater? Normally a hydronic system is run off a boiler. Sounds like this is some half-assed DIY system. If it's really a water heater, it likely doesn't have enough BTUs. Even worse if it's electric.

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On Thu, 21 Jan 2016 05:33:57 -0800 (PST), trader_4

These systems are common in the South. Gas fired water heater feeds the heat coil and seem to be good and reasonable systems.
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On Thursday, January 21, 2016 at 8:57:17 AM UTC-5, Mr.E wrote:

I guess it can be used down there, while it's not used here in the northeast because of the more moderate climate and lower BTUs required.
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From what I understnad about the hydronic system is there is a water radiator in the heat ducts. This only comes on if the air temperature comming out of the heat pump coils is not enough to heat the house. Just as the electric heat strips are for in the more normal heat pump.
If the outside air is only 30 deg, the heat pump should not have any trouble at all keeping the house at 70 deg provided the house has enough insulation , which it should if a heat pump is installed.
For many areas the temperature has to drop below 25 deg, maybe even lower before the cost of operating the heat pump becomes more than gas heat.
It was 18 deg here the last 2 nights and I have the thermostat set at 68 deg at night and 70 during the day and the heat pump has no problem keeping the heat at that temperature.
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On 1/20/2016 8:51 AM, Chiefjim wrote:

Sounds weak, from here. I'm sure I would have said that if I were alive.
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