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Application of Air-to-Water Heat Pumps for Hydronic Heating & Cooling


Instructor: John Siegenthaler

Subjects: Renewable HVAC: Hydronic Heating, Renewable HVAC: HVAC Design, Renewable HVAC: Air-to-Water

Length: 5 modules

Student Rating

9.1 out of 10 (view ratings)
60 students have taken this course


Modern air-to-water heat pumps are an emerging renewable energy heat source. They can also provide cooling. When combined with a hydronic distribution system, these heat pumps provide unsurpassed year-round comfort. They can also serve ancillary loads such as domestic water heating and pool heating. The efficiency of modern “low ambient” air-to-water can approach that of geothermal heat pumps on a seasonal basis, and usually at an installed cost that’s less than half that associated with geothermal heat pumps. This course introduces the technology used in modern air-to-water heat pumps and shows how to build complete systems around them.

Learning Objectives

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Free Preview - Module 2 - Part A
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John Siegenthaler

P.E., Appropriate Designs

John Siegenthaler, P.E., is a mechanical engineer and graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a licensed professional engineer, and Professor Emeritus of Engineering Technology at Mohawk Valley Community College. “Siggy” has over 32 years of experience in designing modern hydronic heating systems. He is a hall-of-fame member of the Radiant Professionals Alliance...[more]

Free Preview - Module 2 - Part A

Course Outline

Welcome - Orientation Materials

This course is self-paced, so you don’t need to be logged in at any specific time. You can get started immediately after you enroll and the course materials will remain in your account with minimum guaranteed access for 12 months (1 year) after enrollment.

  • Introduction to HeatSpring (Video - 01:25 minutes) Preview
  • Set up email notifications and your student profile (Text)
  • Introduce yourself on the discussion board (Text)
Module 1 - Introduction & Brief History of Air-Source Heat Pumps

This week provides an overview of the course, learning objectives, and background information on air-source heat pumps. It discusses the benefits of air-to-water heat pumps, and trends that point to a growing market in North America.

  • Module 1 - Part A (Video - 17:56 minutes)
  • Module 1 - Part B (Video - 40:20 minutes)
  • Module 1 - Part C (Video - 15:18 minutes)
  • Module 1 - Part D (Video - 15:22 minutes)
  • Module 1 Part E (Video - 40:54 minutes)
  • idronics #12 - Hydronics Fundamentals (Download .pdf)
  • All Module 1 Presentation Slides (Download .pdf)
Module 2 - Working With Air-to-Water Heat Pumps

This week presents the “nut & bolt” details of working with modern air-to-water heat pumps. It examines the thermal performance of modern vapor/compression air-to-water heat pumps, freeze protection options, use of buffer tanks, modulating versus fixed speed heat pumps, and integration of an auxiliary boiler. They details will all be applied in the example systems described later in the course.

  • Module 2 - Part A (Video - 34:12 minutes) Preview
  • Module 2 Part B (REV) (Video - 28:24 minutes)
  • Module 2 - Part C (Video - 27:34 minutes)
  • Module 2 - Part D (Video - 25:47 minutes)
  • Module 2 - Part E (Video - 21:25 minutes)
  • Module 2 - Part F (Video - 11:44 minutes)
  • Module 2 (REV) all presentation slides (Download .pdf)
  • (Module 2 Part D) Revised slide #100 (Download .pdf)
Module 3 - Low-Temperature Heat Emitters & Distribution Systems

This week focuses on heat emitter options and the important of designing the heating distribution system to operate at low supply water temperatures. Several heat emitters are discussed, and preferred piping layouts are shown.

  • Module 3 Part A (Video - 01:03:18 hours)
  • Module 3 Part B (Video - 24:56 minutes)
  • Module 3 all presentation slides (Download .pdf)
  • heat emitter retrofit possibilities (Download .pdf)
Module 4 - Small-Scale Chilled Water Cooling Using Air-to-Water Heat Pumps

The week is devoted to smaller scale chilled water cooling, which allows air-to-water heat pumps to provided zoned cooling and dehumidification. Both sensible and latent cooling are described along with terminal unit options including radiant panel cooling.

  • Module 4 Part A (the only part) (Video - 31:45 minutes)
  • Revised slide 173 (Download .pdf)
  • Module 4 all slides (REV 10-10-16) (Download .pdf)
Module 5 - Example Systems

This week presents several complete system designs for heating cooling and ancillary loads. They include piping schematics, control concepts, electrical wiring, and descriptions of operation.

  • Module 5 Part A (Video - 35:42 minutes) Preview
  • Module 5 Part B (Video - 15:39 minutes)
  • Module 5 Part C (Video - 09:03 minutes)
  • Module 5 Part D (Video - 12:10 minutes)
  • Module 5 Part E (Video - 11:10 minutes)
  • Module 5 all presentation slides PDF (Download .pdf)
  • Final Quiz (Quiz)
Feedback and Additional Resources

This is our last module but you still have access to the all of course materials for 12 months (1 year), so keep working and you'll be able to complete the course at your own pace. After your year of access expires you can optionally extend access with a HeatSpring Membership. Enjoy the course and keep in touch!

  • 1 Year of Access to Course Materials (Text)
  • Feedback: 2-minute Exit Survey (Survey)
  • Consider Joining as a HeatSpring Member (Resource)
  • Certificate of Completion: Request a Certificate (Certificate)
Free Preview - Module 2 - Part A

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