Tag Archives: MrCool

Heat Pumps, Star Wars, & Death Star HVAC

Death Star HVAC

If Star Wars were real, the Death Star would have been an amazing engineering feat. It’s a man-made moon for crying out loud! However, from an HVAC perspective, properly heating and cooling the thing would have been a daunting prospect. Would our modern HVAC technology be up to that challenge. And, if so, what system(s) would work best? I’ve got my own ideas, so let’s talk Death Star HVAC.

For science.

Death Star HVAC – Definitely Mostly Made Up Science Speculation

How did we get here?

Star Wars movies are a big deal. A new one is coming out in December, and the Internet is all abuzz. Which got me thinking about Star Wars. You’ve got princesses and space ships and laser swords and, of course, the Death Star. Being an HVAC guy, I couldn’t help but wonder how anyone would manage air quality and comfort for something that dang big. Any installation would have to overcome a couple of major difficulties to say the very least.

Now, let’s start with a few caveats. The Empire must have the technology to create artificial atmosphere to make something like the Death Star work in the first place. They also generated their own gravity, since we don’t see people floating around like drunken cosmonauts. These are good things for us, since both mean a relatively mundane HVAC unit can operate on the Death Star without a lot of hassle.

That being the case, I am going to argue an energy efficient heat pump, MrCool brand or otherwise, would be the best way for the Empire to condition Death Star air.

Death Star HVAC for a Million of the Empire’s Finest

The Internet informs me that there were a few million Imperial servicemen on the Death Star. That’s a lot. While I’m sure the evil Emperor was not too worried about creature comforts, all those troopers have to stay at least sort of alive.

Why would heat pumps be exactly what the Empire was looking for when it came to comfort for those guys and gals?

An energy efficient heat pump can heat, cool, and dehumidify. The latter is just as important as the former two for Death Star HVAC, because a few million people breathe out a lot of water vapor every single day. Our own atmosphere deals with that easily, but the Death Star doesn’t have a natural atmospheric cycle. Artificial systems would be required to manage the problem. Heat pumps could dehumidify as they conditioned the air, and combining solutions like that is always a good way to simplify.

Size Matters and Causes Problems

The Death Star is a space station in the same way that a toy car is an automobile – only technically. It’s more accurate to say that the Death Star is an artificial planet. Unless you’re using space magic, the Death Star would not, could not, have had a centralized heat pump system. It would be impossible to build an HVAC system big enough to push conditioned air through a space roughly the size of our moon. The engineers wouldn’t even try.

Nor would they need to do so. Large portions of the Death Star must have been unmanned, mechanical spaces. Those you wouldn’t have to worry about so much. From a designer’s perspective, you really only need to heat and cool the places where all those aforementioned people are going to be living and working.

Which still ain’t easy.

Since you can’t build an HVAC system large enough for the entire station, your obvious solution is to use multiple, smaller-scale systems. We know from practical experience than energy efficient heat pumps work well in exactly those sorts of applications.

How Many Heat Pumps Would You Need?

Short answer: a lot.

Long answer: hundreds of thousands at a minimum. All the interior compartments necessary to house the crew, support staff, and troopers would sprawl over thousands of miles. Even if we ignore those mechanical spaces, we’re still left with city-sized areas requiring human-survivable, conditioned air. As I discussed above, you couldn’t use a single system. Instead, the Empire would install individual heat pumps in the necessary sections. This would mean Death Star HVAC would be a decentralized web as opposed to a single, communicating network.

The ease with which modern heat pumps can be installed would be a real boon to those harried Death Star HVAC technicians working to keep everyone from freezing to death in such a huge system.

But Could a Heat Pump Heat in Space?

A heat pump would not work if forced to interact with the void of space. A heat pump provides heat by drawing it out of the Earth’s atmosphere. Space doesn’t exactly have that, but heat pumps on the Death Star would have an alternate environment with which to work.

The Death Star would have to have an absolutely huge nuclear reactor, maybe a couple, providing power. Why nuclear? Nuclear provides a lot of energy, lasts a long time, and it means you don’t need gigantic fuel tanks which would be a pain to refill. Nuclear radiation also provides heat.

Dangerous, murderous heat, but whatever. It’s not like the Empire cares.

The heat pumps the Empire would use to keep individual compartments hot or cold could work in conjunction with the artificial interior atmosphere kept at a relatively stable temperature by the Death Star’s nuclear reactor heart. Sure, you would have to filter out the radiation in some way, a problem for us on Earth, but the Empire built a giant space station that can move faster than light. I’m fairly certain they can handle a little problem like stopping deadly radiation.

What that radioactive heat means for my theory is you would then have a source for all those compartmentalized heat pumps to draw on. Which means those heat pumps would actually function. Which is important.

Energy Efficiency & Low-Temp Heating

There are reasons other than capability and installation-ease to choose heat pumps for the Death Star.

First, there’s energy efficiency.

Yes, the Death Star has a big reactor, but it’s also got to make sure there’s enough juice to fire the super laser at unruly planets. This means that the subsystems, like HVAC, are going to be optimized for efficiency. Hey, we don’t call them energy efficient heat pumps for nothing! These HVAC systems would cut down on overall power consumption even while they keep things comfortable in Darth Vader’s personal sauna.

Second, low-temp heating.

Air-source heat pumps used to be problematic when it came to providing heat when outside temperatures dropped too low. At first glance you might think this would be a black mark against heat pumps for use in a giant space station with, most likely, fluctuating interior temperature levels. Not so fast! The latest generation of heat pumps like our own MrCool Advantage can keep heating down to -10 degrees below zero. It’s safe to assume Imperial-brand heat pumps could do something similar.

Death Star HVAC Certified Heat Pumps

Are you a REAL Star Wars fan? If so, you owe it to yourself to invest in the only modern HVAC system that could fit the needs of a galaxy-roaming, planet-killing symbol of Imperial power. Heat pumps – they’re just that good.

The Best MrCool Packaged Heat Pump Ever

MrCool Packaged Heat Pump

The latest MrCool Packaged Heat Pump 14 SEER series is the greatest line of packaged heat pumps that has ever been manufactured on Planet Earth. Just Earth for now. I have no idea what they’re using on Venus or Mars, so I can’t speak to that.

The Amazing, Marvelous MrCool Packaged Heat Pump

You know what’s great about an easy-to-install, all-in-one heating and cooling system from MrCool?

Everything, obviously. All my HVAC systems are great. You should know that by now. I have the very best home air comfort solutions, because I’m MrCool. And if there’s one thing I know it’s uber effective interior temperature control. I have a degree in it and everything.

But I digress. Back to my amazing MrCool packaged heat pump!

Did I Mention the Amazing Features?

  • Ultra Amazing AHRI Listing.
  • Super Cool ETL Certified.
  • Eco-safe R-410A refrigerant, because the ozone layer is awesome.
  • An amazing 14 SEER energy efficiency rating.
  • The most convenient and easy to install packaged heat pump I’m willing to tell you about.
  • Do you like an easy to maintain unit? This one is easy to maintain. You’re welcome.
  • Safety features to protect against high or low pressure, excess coil temperature, and power surges.
  • A high efficiency Copeland scroll compressor – one of the best in the business.
  • Do you need extra heating? Attach an auxiliary heat kit (8 kw – 20 kw).
  • A 10-year parts warranty (registration required).
  • The most comfortable heating and cooling power you’ve ever experienced from a MrCool packaged heat pump, and that is a scientific fact.

What More Do You Want?

At this point I really don’t know what you’re waiting for. This is obviously the best packaged heat pump ever forged by the hand of Mankind. Buy the MrCool Packaged Heat Pump right now and thank me later.

I accept gift cards and chocolate.

Thermostat Installation and You!

thermostat installation

You’re a do-it-yourself kind of person. You’ve done your fair share of home improvements and appliance installation. You know your way around a crescent wrench. You don’t need any help when it comes to thermostat installation.

You’ve got this. You’ll be fine. Everything will be fine. No reason to panic.

Right?

Improper Thermostat Installation & How It Can Ruin Everything

Everything could go horribly wrong, but probably not in the way you’re thinking. While it’s possible to screw up the wiring that’s not the most common installation problem. The most common way people completely screw up thermostat installation is all about location, location, location.

Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold

Here are some thing you should keep in mind when you’re installing any programmable thermostat:

  • Do NOT install a thermostat on an exterior wall. If that wall is poorly insulated, your thermostat is going to think it’s either too hot or too cold. You’ll waste energy in summer and winter. Which is bad.
  • Do NOT install a thermostat where there is a steady draft. You don’t want your thermostat directly above or below a vent, since that is going to affect how it perceives interior temperature. Again, this is a recipe for wasting money.
  • Do NOT install a thermostat in direct sunlight. Ideally, you don’t want your thermostat exposed to sunlight at all. This isn’t always possible, so minimize exposure as much as possible.
  • Do NOT install a thermostat behind an obstruction like a door or bookshelf. Even though that spot might meet other thermostat installation guidelines, you’ll come to hate the inconvenience when you want to change the temp.
  • If you’re installing a smart thermostat, make sure it is in range of your home Wi-Fi network. There’s not much point in paying for smart tech if you can’t use it.

You Can Do It

Yes, it’s possible to screw up thermostat installation. However, if you follow the aforementioned guidelines, you should be just fine.

Zero Degree Heating

zero degree heating

Everybody knows there’s no such thing as zero degree heating when it comes to a heat pump. An energy efficient heat pump might work for mild temperatures, but they rapidly lose efficiency as the temperature drops. Everybody knows you need a gas furnace to stay warm in severe winter weather.

Right?

I’ve got some news for you. What everybody ‘knows’ is about to change.

Zero Degree Heating is Real

The conventional wisdom that a heat pump won’t work for really cold winter days used to be 100% right. Previous generation heat pumps simply could not function in freezing conditions. As I’m sure you know, technology does not stand still. Right now it’s entirely possible for a modern heat pump to deliver zero degree heating. In fact, some heat pumps can continue heating at 100% efficiency past -10 degrees.

Okay, so that’s great. Heat pumps can heat better, terrific. What, however, does it mean for the average American homeowner?

Expanding Regional Utility

Not too very many years ago keeping your house heated with just a heat pump was not a great idea for most people. Heat pumps were unable to heat effectively at low temperatures, so only people in very mild winter climates could reasonably rely on one. If you didn’t live in South Florida or Hawaii, you were probably not going to use a heat pump for zero degree heating.

This is no longer the case.

Being able to heat effectively down to -10 degrees means using a heat pump for summer cooling and winter heating is a real option for many more homeowners than it used to be. If you live in Alaska and routinely experience temperatures around -40, you’re still going to need a furnace. On the other hand, if you live in a region, the American South for example, where zero degree days are not too common, you can now depend on an energy efficient heat pump for all your air comfort needs.

Like I said before – what everybody ‘knows’ just changed.

Energy Efficient Heating the Cool Way

energy efficient heating

Everybody’s making energy efficient cooling systems. Mostly, because the government is making them, but whatever. My point is that I’m confident you’ve heard about it. What you might not have noticed is the recent revolution in energy efficient heating.

What am I talking about? Let’s dig in.

Energy Efficient Heating from Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are awesome. Seriously, who doesn’t love them? Ductless or conventional, we here at MrCool Industries are huge fans; they heat, cool, and dehumidify.

But there’s a problem right? You can build a heat pump for energy efficient cooling, but not for heating. When there is not very much heat in the ambient air on very cold days, heat pumps lose efficiency until they stop working altogether.

At least, that’s how it used to be.

Introducing the MrCool Oasis Hyper Heat Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pump

We’ve got a brand new ductless mini-split heat pump system coming that we’re quite proud of. It’s called the Oasis Hyper Heat.

Awesome name, right?

As you probably already gathered, the Oasis Hyper Heat is a ductless heat pump system, so it’s ideal for homes without conventional ductwork or where space is an issue. What you probably don’t know is just how good the Hyper Heat technology is going to be.

The energy efficient heating components inside the Oasis allow it to heat at 100% efficiency at more than -10 degrees. Yes, you read that correctly. If it is, literally, 10 degrees below zero, the Oasis Hyper Heat will still deliver energy efficient heating. This is a huge step forward for ductless systems, and we can’t wait to get these units on the market.

So, When Will That Be?

Manufacturing and distribution is a complicated business, so I can’t give you an exact date. However, our logistics guys are confident we will have new MrCool Oasis Hyper Heat ductless mini-split heat pumps ready by early December.

Hey, just in time for Christmas!

You, Your Dog, and Your Air Conditioner

dog

You’ve got a dog, right? Of course, you do, because they’re adorable and really good at moving sticks around the yard. You’ve also got an air conditioner. These two things probably don’t seem related. What would a dog have to do with an air conditioner anyway? However, the two can affect each other more than you might think.

What Does My Dog Have to Do With My Air Conditioner?

Good question! Unless your dog regularly uses your outside AC as a substitute fire hydrant, you might not think there’s much of a relationship.

But there is.

Dogs have fur. I realize I’m not exactly blowing your mind with that proclamation. You already know dogs shed. After all, you’re the one vacuuming the dog hair off the sofa before the in-laws show up.

No matter how clean you keep your house or how well groomed your dog, you aren’t catching all that pet hair and dander coming off Fido. Don’t feel bad. It would be virtually impossible to take care of it all.

Where does that hair go? Some of it gets embedded in carpet or clothes, but a lot gets sucked up by you air conditioner and lodged in your air filter.

Aha! Now we’re getting somewhere.

Dogs, Cats, and Air Filters

Yes, we’ve been talking about dogs, but the same principle applies to your cat or any other furry mammal scurrying around your house. Some loose pet hair is always going to get caught in your air conditioner’s filter. This is actually a good thing, since it means the air filter is doing its job. It is supposed to keep things like hair and dust and other airborne particles from getting to the coils inside the system.

So, you’re fine, right? Nothing to worry about?

Obviously not. Yes, a good air filter will do the job catching loose pet hair, but that means you have to do a good job regularly checking that filter. If you have a lot of pets, your filter is going to get dirtier faster than someone living alone. Some homeowners can go 2-3 months without cleaning or replacing their filter. You can’t do that. You need to check it every few weeks to be sure the filter isn’t completely filthy.

Won’t That Cost Me More Money?

Yes, it probably will. However, remember that air filters are cheap, but paying the bill to repair an air conditioner clogged with dog hair won’t be.

Air Conditioner Replacement – 3 Questions You Should Ask

air conditioner replacement

Your air conditioner is one of the most expensive, most costly, and most regularly used home appliances. Sadly, they don’t last forever. When your system does break, do you know what questions you should ask your HVAC technician about air conditioner replacement?

No? You’re not alone, and we can help.

Air Conditioner Replacement – 3 Questions You Should Ask

1. Does the new unit need to be the same size as the old one?

You think we’re starting off easy, because the answer is an obvious, “Yes.”

Right?

Maybe, but not necessarily. If your previous unit was properly sized, then your new air conditioner replacement will most likely be that same size. However, if you were stuck using the wrong size for your house, now is a great time to get the right one installed. A good HVAC tech will conduct a heat load calculation to know for sure.

2. Should I stick with the same type of system?

You might want to do a ‘same brand, same model’ air conditioner replacement, but maybe not. Depending on where you live it might make sense to go with an energy efficient heat pump instead of a cooling-only a/c unit. If your furnace is also on its last legs, maybe you want to install a dual fuel packaged unit to get powerful cooling and heating. There are a lot of options. Talk it over with your HVAC tech, and they’ll help you pick the best unit to fit your comfort needs.

3. Will an energy efficient unit make that much of a difference?

I don’t know if you’ve left your house in a few decades, but energy efficient technology is kind of a big deal right now. The heating and air conditioning industry isn’t any different. High efficiency air conditioners, heat pumps, and furnaces are saturating the market. Which one should you choose? Should you invest a little more money in a higher efficiency system or should you settle for something that just meets the latest Federal standard?

Talk to your HVAC technician about how much he thinks you could save. If you live in an area with really cheap electricity, a higher efficiency system won’t make much of a difference. Of course, the contrary is also true. If electricity costs in your state are really high, investing a few more dollars in better tech will pay off in the long run. Whichever system you choose you can be certain any modern unit is going to be a lot better than a previous generation system.

And That’s That

Those are the three main questions you need to keep in mind when talking to your HVAC professional about air conditioner replacement. As always, if you have more questions, drop us an email or a message in the comments.

Stay cool, Internet denizen!

Is An Old Air Conditioner Costing You Money?

old air conditioner

How old is your air conditioner? 5 years old? 10 years? 15? Do you even know? You should find out. Modern air conditioning is one of the best things about being alive in this day and age, but if you’re relying on an old air conditioner, you might be paying way, way too much to stay cool.

Out With the Old Air Conditioner, In With the New

Air conditioner technology has come a long way since it was first invented back at the dawn of the 20th century. We’ve replaced the bulky, loud, and noxious A/C units our parents first installed with energy efficient, quiet, and eco-safe models that do an even better job cooling and dehumidifying. You are using one of the energy efficient, quiet, and eco-safe models, right?

There’s a good chance you’re not. Too many American households still rely on effective, but inefficient technology to keep them cool during hot summer temperatures.

It’s understandable.

Really, it is. Buying a new air conditioner is fraught with uncertainties. You’re not an HVAC expert. How do you know you aren’t getting swindled? How do you know which unit is better than another? Are the latest units really better than the old air conditioner you’ve gotten by with for years?

Yes, they are, and upgrading can make a lot of difference.

New Tech, Old Problems

The HVAC industry is full of great, innovative companies, but they aren’t building increasingly efficient air conditioners out of pure goodness. US government residential efficiency standards have been rising steadily over the last few decades, and the latest standards came into effect as of January 1st, 2015. The newest high efficiency units cool just as well as your old air conditioner, but they are a lot more efficient.

Of course, the big question is, “How much of a difference will they make?”

Consider this: A typical 2.5 ton central AC system uses more electricity in one hour of continuous use than leaving your refrigerator door wide open for the same period of time. You would never leave your fridge open for that long, so why do you settle for an inferior, old air conditioner’s efficiency? If you live in a particularly hot climate, your A/C could account for up to 70% of your electric bill by itself.

That’s a lot of money.

Take the plunge. Invest in a new, high efficiency air conditioner for your home. You’ll get the same great air comfort you always have, but your electric bill will go down and you’ll be doing something good for the environment.

If you don’t, all you’ll lose is money.