New Heat Pump Technology
Living in Phoenix, AZ., it goes without saying our air conditioning systems are the most important appliance in our home. Over the last few years, Phoenix and surrounding cities have experienced record-breaking temperatures, and records for consistent days over 110°F. It’s no wonder we were amongst the first cities to embrace new heat pump technology decades ago.
FYI Heat Pumps Cool AND Heat
If you don’t already know, heat pumps provide both cooling & heating despite the confusing name. If you’re interested in learning more about how a heat pump will cool and heat your home follow this link: Learn how a heat pump works.
I just wanted to make sure my readers knew whenever you see “heat pump,” know we’re talking about heat AND air conditioning.
The New Heat Pump Technology
Now that heat pumps dominate the market, new heat pump technology is emerging almost daily. Most consumers are already aware of inverters, a.k.a. variable speed compressors, in fact they’re the majority of our new heat pump sales now. However, the most recent new heat pump technology is something even some contractors don’t know about yet: The side-discharge heat pump.
What is a Side-discharge Heat Pump?
Technically, the side-discharge air conditioner isn’t really new heat pump technology, it’s more like evolving tech. Ductless mini split manufacturers like Mitsubishi, Gree, Bosch, & Fujitsu have been using side-discharge condensers for many years. In fact, Mitsubishi and Daikin both started pairing side-discharge condensers with conventional air handlers several years ago with good success. So, what’s so “new” about this new heat pump technology then?
What makes these systems new heat pump technology is the fact that they’re starting to become mainstream. HVAC equipment manufacturers like Gree, Airtemp, Coleman, Daikin, Carrier, and a few others have all begun releasing these new heat pumps. They combine the benefits of high-efficiency inverter compressors with small footprints that can be installed in very tight spaces. Conversely, most high-efficiency inverter driven outdoor units are very large (some are huge). The large size outdoor unit is needed to achieve the best-in-class efficiency ratings they receive. Case in point, the Lennox SL28 is the most efficient heat pump on the market today – it’s also quite large.
With the growing need for better heat pumps that can be installed in “zero-lot-line” neighborhoods, manufacturers answered with side-discharge units.
Is New Heat Pump Technology Right for You?
If you don’t need an AC with a small footprint, a side-discharge heat pump may still be right for you. Here are some of the other advantages these new heat pumps offer a homeowner.
- Extremely quiet operation. Thanks to the inverter compressor, small fan motor, and design characteristics, many of these units have best-in-class sound ratings.
- Very Competitive Pricing. Smaller dimensions mean lower material costs, shipping costs, handling & freight costs, even lower labor costs. As a result, some of these new heat pump systems cost thousands less than their full-sized cousins.
- Inverter Reliability. Having the honor of installing more inverter systems than most any other HVAC company in Phoenix, we can attest to their reliability. At this point we’ve installed thousands of them throughout Arizona and see very low failure rates comparatively.
- Installation Flexibility. The heat pump condenser (outdoor unit) can be installed as close as 4” off a wall. (Specific brands only, some require more).
The Cons of Side Discharge Heat Pumps
After carefully reviewing the technical data and performance charts of a few brands, we found a glaring flaw in some. Keep in mind the following only pertains to a few brands and the issue is less dramatic in others.
The flaw is a dramatic loss in capacity (tonnage / cooling output) at very high outdoor ambient temperatures. In one model tested, a 5-ton system was basically reduced to a 3.25-ton system at high temperatures. In other words, the performance of the machine was the worst when you need it the most! This doesn’t pose a problem in areas that don’t reach 100°F+ summer temperatures. However, in a place like Phoenix, Arizona, 100°F is practically still Spring!
Therefore, the most important decision you’ll make when buying a new heat pump is choosing the best installing company. Why? A very good air conditioning contractor will know this upfront. We will not even offer certain brands or models that can’t perform as well as the rest of the pack. A lesser air conditioning company probably won’t even know it’s about to be a problem for you – until it’s too late. The fact of the matter is the “extended ratings” of most air conditioning systems show a capacity (performance) loss at extremely high temperatures. Some simply perform better than others in extreme heat or cold.
Gree – The New Heat Pump to Watch
Years ago, Magic Touch was the first company to tell people about the Bosch Heat Pump. In fact, we were the first in Phoenix to install them and one of the first in the country (per Bosch themselves). Back then, Bosch was the best new heat pump technology we’d seen in a long time. Not because they were the most efficient (they weren’t), not because they invented new technology (they didn’t). What they did was, figure out how to take the best technology available and make it affordable. In the process they developed one of the quietest, highly efficient, and most affordable new heat pumps on the market. Since then, Bosch is still one of our best-selling and most requested new heat pump brands.
Now we’re telling you to watch Gree
Before going on, know this: Magic Touch Mechanical offers 12 brands of heat pumps. We’d just as happily install a Lennox, Mitsubishi, Rheem, Goodman, etc., as the Gree we’re about to talk about! I say that to demonstrate how we remain unbiased – I own zero stock in any HVAC brand.
Like Bosch, most people don’t even know the name Gree. If they do, they may not do associate them with central air. When people in the U.S. think air conditioning brands, they think Carrier, Lennox, or Trane. Possibly even Rheem, Amana, or Goodman – but not Gree. Anyone outside of the HVAC industry probably wouldn’t know that 1 out of every 3 air conditioners manufactured in the world today is a Gree. In fact, I’d bet most people in the air conditioning industry don’t know that – unless they’re paying attention.
Gree has, or currently still does, manufacture air conditioners for most of the “big name” manufacturers including “the big 3”. The name on the box might say Trane (or another), the unit might say Trane, etc., … but it’s a Gree! In fact, most side-discharge condensers, mini-splits, etc., made today are made by Gree, Midea or Daikin. They’re the true “big 3” today that nobody even knows about.
Consider the populations of Asia, Europe, and South America. All of whom have been using side-discharge heat pumps for decades. When you have those places in your head, it’s easier to consider how 1 out of every 3 air conditioners in the world are not a Carrier, Trane, etc.
Who Cares! Why Should I Watch Gree?
When we first saw Bosch and their pricing, I predicted they’d be the “Trane killer.” After all, they had the same technology (some better), they’re quieter, have a comparable warranty, etc. – for thousands less.
I recently joked with a Bosch supplier that the Gree may just be the “Bosch killer.” After all, they have the same technology (some better), they’re quieter, have a comparable warranty, etc. – for thousands less!
Gree Heat Pumps Cost Thousands Less
Like the Bosch Heat Pump back then, the Gree Heat Pump comes in at thousands less than their competitors. They have the same inverter (variable speed) compressor technology, 10-year parts warranty, and are quieter than the rest – for less!
It remains to be seen but I have a feeling Gree could soon unseat Bosch as our “Best Bang for the Buck Heat Pump” soon. Again, I want to reiterate… we sell 12 brands of air conditioners, heat pumps, furnaces, and mini splits. This is not a Gree (or Bosch) “commercial” or sales pitch and I’m not getting paid to write this!
About Magic Touch Mechanical
I founded Magic Touch Mechanical in Mesa, AZ a little over 25 years ago and we’ve provided 5-Star service to the entire Phoenix-Metro area ever since. We’ve always done things differently than our competitors over the years (like offering many brands instead of one or two). We don’t offer plumbing, electrical, pest control, or alarm systems. If it heats, cools, saves energy, or adds ambiance (fireplaces & fire pits) we do it, and “we do it better than it has to be!” Get to know more about us here.
NEED A NEW HEAT PUMP NEAR PHOENIX, AZ?