Heat Pumps & Infrared Radiant Hybrid Systems

Heating Our Spaces and Not the Planet

When it comes to improving the efficiency and sustainability of heating our homes and businesses, the solutions can be complex and varied. However, one thing is clear: the way we heat our spaces has a significant impact on both energy consumption, indoor air quality, and the environment. We recently published an article that explores the benefits and drawbacks of different heating systems, emphasizing the importance of all-electric ‘fuel’ approaches and the incredible synergy between heat pumps and infrared radiant heat.
The Importance of Insulation and Ventilation
Efficient heating begins with a well-insulated and ventilated space. High-performance insulation and ventilation reduce the energy required to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures. Addressing these passive components is a critical first step in creating an energy-efficient and sustainable heating system. And while it is not always possible to effectively or cost-efficiently improve those systems, you can still create an energy-efficient, healthy heating and cooling system – with just a few extra nuances.

Moving Away from Fossil Fuels

Using fossil fuels for heating is no longer a sustainable option. An all-electric approach is essential for achieving sustainability goals. While much of our electricity is still generated from fossil fuels, homes that rely solely on electric heating become cleaner as the electricity grid becomes greener. Moving to all-electric systems in our architecture covers the use portion of the transition to decarbonization, which is much more than half the battle.

The Drawbacks of Centralized Heating Systems

Centralized ducted and hydronic systems, regardless of how the heat is generated, have inherent inefficiencies. These systems lose heat through ducts or pipes, especially in unconditioned spaces like crawlspaces, and often waste heat by heating unoccupied or little used spaces. Centralized systems can also be a source of much debate in shared spaces – one person being too hot, another being too cold! Heating and cooling spaces as needed, when needed, and to the comfort of the current occupant is a key component to sustainable, effective, and efficient HVAC solutions.

The Efficiency of Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are among the most efficient heating systems available, as they transfer more than twice the energy they consume. By absorbing heat from the air and transferring it indoors or outdoors, heat pumps can provide both heating and cooling. Ductless, mini-split heat pumps (DMHP/DHPs) are particularly efficient because they deliver air directly into spaces without the inefficiencies associated with ducted systems. However, the refrigerants used in these systems can be environmentally harmful if not effectively managed. There are newer, more climate-friendly refrigerants that have been developed, though there is still debate between professionals around “soft-impacts.”

The Advantages of Electric Infrared Radiant Heat

Electric infrared radiant heat addresses several challenges that heat pumps cannot. Unlike other electric resistance heaters, which waste energy as light, infrared systems efficiently convert electricity into heat. These systems warm objects and people directly, creating a comfortable environment without the need for moving parts or noisy fans. They are particularly effective for heating smaller spaces and can be a cost-effective, long-term solution.

Transcending Tradition with Hybrid Solutions

For many homes, a combination of heat pumps and infrared radiant heat offers the best solution. Heat pumps are ideal for large, open spaces and areas with high ceilings, while infrared radiant heaters can supplement heating in smaller, enclosed spaces. This hybrid approach ensures even heating throughout the home, minimizing cold spots and reducing the need for additional heat pump units.

Think Outside the Duct

Harnessing the best solutions for optimal results is easier than ever. As lay people, we have so much more access to information about heating and cooling solutions, we don’t have to settle for using the same technologies as the Joneses. We can find new, innovative solutions that work best for our specific requirements. Incorporating both heat pumps and infrared radiant heat into your heating system can provide a sustainable, efficient, effective, and comfortable solution for your home or business. By moving away from fossil fuels and leveraging the strengths of these technologies, we can significantly reduce our environmental impact while maintaining comfortable living and working spaces.

Things just got a lot cooler!

The biggest downside of the array of practical, energy efficient, American-made heating products we’ve been selling is that none of them have included cooling; however, that has just changed!

Mighty Energy is now proud to offer Gradient’s best in-class window heat pump system for moderate climate zones. These units are top quality and extremely quiet. Unlike all other single room/in-window units, Gradient’s window appliance uses heat pump technology rather than electrical resistance to produce its magic.

Controlled from anywhere via a mobile app, these in-window units work best for single rooms or small spaces. Consider:

1 or 2 bedrooms: A LOT of factors go into the cost-benefit conversation, however, if you need to cool one or two bedrooms, these are usually more affordable and flexible to use and can be part of a ‘mini-zone’ approach; independently covering the spaces in question.

1 or 2 office spaces or conference rooms: Maybe the space doesn’t have central a/c or it has been remodeled over time making the existing system inefficient. Increase morale, focus, and even productivity with a more comfortable space.

Vacation cabins: Do you really need to splurge for a full-blown system for the few times the space is used throughout the year or is making one or two rooms less hot and easier to sleep in enough?

1-2 room ADU/DADUs: it is required to have a heat pump in most jurisdictions, although sometimes a standard ductless mini-split system is overkill for the tiny space.

Rentals: They are appliances and not a permanent fixtures! If provided by the property owner, this can mean offering a comfort amenity for occupied spaces or as an upgrade. If the occupant owns the unit, they can take it with them when they leave. 

Garages/Studios/Outbuildings: Often these spaces are fairly barebones and installing a complicated heating/cooling system is overkill, especially for the short periods of use and need.

Gradient’s window system is often the perfect solution in these scenarios. And, with the option to design a fully modular, hybrid system in combination with our efficient, infrared radiant products, any number of typically complex challenges can be easily solved, providing comfort, control, and energy efficiency where you need it, when you need it.

Find out more. Contact us at: 206.880.1558 or info@MightyEnergy.net

Light and Heat

What if every light switch in your home controlled every lightbulb in every room? You’d basically have two choices at night – light up the whole house or sit in the dark. 

Sounds crazy, right? Who would want that? Not many, I’d guess. It also would not be very energy efficient. Yet this is how central heating works (in essence). If you want more heat in the living room in the evening, you have to turn up the heat in every room. Unoccupied rooms during the day get more heat just because you’re cold in your office, ad nauseam. Arbitrarily changing the heat for the occupants of other rooms not only can affect their comfort levels but also start a thermostat battle.

Forced air systems, even energy efficient mini-split systems, are also limited in effectiveness because of a fact about ambient air temperature. Cool air readily travels from the source throughout a home since it flows down where everyone is. But warm air begins to rise as soon as it enters a space. And, with central air systems, heat is lost as it travels through ducts. Closing the register in an unused room just means the heat will move through the ducting to that room, cooling down the whole way, only to have no access and, therefore, to wasted effect.

In contrast to hot air, far infrared light is the invisible part of sunlight that heats the land, water, etc. directly. Then, the heat is shed into the air. So, just as we simulate the visible light of the sun with electric lighting, we can do the same with the heat of the sun using technology that shines far infrared light into our spaces.

Infrared radiant heat allows for room-by-room control. A warm bathroom doesn’t affect a cooler, unoccupied bedroom. A boost of cozy warmth in the family room on movie night doesn’t affect the temperature of the laundry room. Since one of the most significant factors in both comfortable and energy efficient heat comes down to control, infrared radiant heat can maximize efficiency without sacrificing comfort.

Think about what happens when you need to change a lightbulb. You take the old one out and put in a new one. And, just like changing a lightbulb, only the room it is in is significantly affected. Whereas, if your furnace, heat pump, or mini-split system fails, your home will be left in the cold until a repair or replacement can be made.

As such, when you think about infrared radiant heat, approach it like you might approach lighting — room by room control. Infrared radiant heat will help you achieve maximum comfort while using as little energy as possible to get the job done.

For more information, contact us at info@mightyenergy.net or 206.880.1558

 

The Human Touch

Mighty Energy Solutions has always been about providing direct, person-to-person customer service, and affordable, effective, and durable products that help reduce carbon emissions and save energy. And, with more and more of us working from home, we are  looking to improve our spaces. However, with the safety concerns and precautions needed to shop face-to-face in a showroom, online shopping for durable goods and large appliances has increased significantly. And, even as we come out of this unprecedented global crisis, the new level of online shopping is unlikely to revert to pre-pandemic levels.

The good news is that shopping online is better for the environment and our schedules. Online purchases are delivered directly to customers by well-established shipping companies specializing in efficient logistics. The number of cars, borrowed pick-up trucks, etc. driving from showroom to showroom, and carting items home has decreased substantially. This saves people a great deal of time. And has reduced the amount of fuel burned and carbon emissions associated with going out shopping and getting our purchases to our homes.

However, between huge, impersonal platforms such as Amazon, and so many products coming from overseas, working directly with human beings – let alone the same person from inquiry about the products to final delivery – is becoming the exception rather than the rule. And, we have all been made aware of the supply chain issues, increased likelihood of shipping delays, higher rates of damage in transit, and all the rigmarole involved in returning or exchanging products that are either not working properly or not the right fit for the job.

So, when you can call and/or email an actual human being who offers you professional guidance and solid customer service, and who will stick with you throughout the process, it can be a big relief. Mighty Energy Solutions is proud to be among the companies – often small businesses – who have always offered this level of quality service and support.

If you need a new heating system for your remodel, renovation, new build, or just an upgrade of your old system, call us at 206.880.1558 or email us at info@mightyenergy.net to find more about what we can do for you. We will always work to find you the best solution for your project. And we are always happy to assist you every step of the way.

A New Reality Requires a New Approach

This unprecedented pandemic has lasted over two years so far. It has changed the way we live. Even as certain precautions are being eased in the coming weeks, that could change with little notice. Certainly, we all hope the worst is over. However, now that we have learned to make so many adjustments in our lives, we can better prepare for similar events that may come going forward.

We’ve gotten used to wearing masks, social distancing, etc. And we have also seen shifts in how the economy works. Many of us are now working from home instead of going into the office. We are ordering more online and shopping less in stores. There have been seemingly random shortages of various items – even staples such as toilet paper. Most of us have had to endure longer turn-around times on orders, especially of durable goods. Building materials for home improvement projects have been hit hard. Almost everything has gone up in price. And, by now, everyone seems to have heard and used the term ‘supply chain issues’  – some for the first time in their lives.

Mighty Energy has always followed the policy of selling products (and all their components) that are made in the America. Initially, we saw this as a way to reduce the carbon emissions associated with all the shipping involved in gathering and turning raw materials into finished products. It turns out that this policy has also minimized our supply chain issues when compared to many other durable goods. However, our business has not been entirely immune.

Even with products fully made in America, these issues have cropped up. COVID has found its way into factories in the chain. A big uptick in demand for shipping services has strained that system. And manufacturers everywhere are scrambling to find new suppliers, creating greater competition for in-country sources. All of this has resulted in delays and price increases.

No one wants this outcome, and we’re all hoping for a return to a more ‘reasonable’ status quo. It’s hard to know when this will happen. And it’s just as hard to say and what ‘reasonable’ will mean. So, part of the adjustment is going to require planning ahead a little further out. Budgets are going to be trickier to work-out. The work itself has become more difficult to schedule. It would be good, in this respect, to consider what efficiency and durability mean to this process.

For example, Ducoterra heating panels have a lifetime warranty, will last decades, and electric infrared heating systems in general have the lowest cost of ownership over time. They are among the easiest heating systems to fix. And, if something does go wrong, it won’t leave your whole house without heat if you need to send a heater to the factory for repair or replacement.

Also, as our factories have faced all the various curve balls thrown at them, they have made adjustments that render the all-American supply chain far more stable than could be accomplished using overseas components, let alone supplying imported products.

One final thing to consider is that, more and more, we are finding it safest to gather outdoors whenever possible. This can be a pleasant adjustment in any case. However, the weather does not always allow it. So, many people are working on projects to cover patios and decks. And, to get as much as a hundred extra days a year of use out of these spaces, people are installing INFRATECH infrared patio heaters. INFRATECH has been around for fifty years and are the standard in quality, outdoor heating solutions. So, if you are going to spend the money to make your outdoor spaces more friendly, and your gatherings more pandemic resistant, you may want to invest in making those spaces comfortably usable much more of the time. And infrared radiant heat is the only way to effectively ‘heat the great outdoors.’

We have all received hard lessons in not knowing what to expect in this tumultuous time. But, if we’ve learned anything, it’s that with the proper steps and preparation, we can stay ahead of the curve and weather these kinds of global storms in greater comfort and safety for the long haul.

For more information and answers to any questions you may have about infrared radiant heating solutions, please call 206.880.1558 or email info@migthyenergy.net.

A Flexible Approach to Heating Challenges

Architects, contractors, and specialty trades all know that having many approaches to solve the challenges of their client’s projects gives them a great advantage. One area where this can be particularly true is in how a building is heated.

No Ducts – Only Architecture

Mini-split ductless heat pump systems are an extremely efficient heating solution for projects with large, open-concept spaces. There are no ducts and vents to install.  The conditioned air moves directly from the cassette through the rooms and hallways. And it provides both warm and cool air for all-season comfort. Also, the only connection between inside and out are a couple of pipes for the refrigerant. So no outdoor air pollutants are pumped into your house.

Cool air moves downward. So, mini-splits do a great job of cooling your space. However, in colder months, since warm air rises, the further a room is from the cassette, the less heat reaches it. This can cause ineffective heating and create cool spots/rooms. One solution, of course, is to install multiple cassettes in various rooms throughout the home. However, this quickly gets costly, and requires multiple  holes in the exterior walls for the refrigerant plumbing to reach the multiple cassettes. And every penetration of the building envelope increases the risk of temperature exchange with the outside. Sure, a ducted heat pump could be installed instead, but those are also costly and have limits to their effectiveness. Additionally, it means more moving parts that can fail, and increases the chance that refrigerants will leak.

This is where electric, infrared radiant heat comes in as a great supplement to cover insufficiently heated spaces. This solution also requires no ducting and, in fact, no further penetrations in the building envelope. As easy to install as can lighting, it rounds out the system at a lower cost, allows for room by room control. And, with no moving parts, it will likely last as much as twice as long as the mini-split itself.

Less Can be More Appropriate

In the case of small, tightly built ADU/DADUs, and additions, mini-splits are generally overkill both for what the space needs in terms of heating power and often even cooling power, as well as for the client’s bank account. Once again, infrared radiant heat fits the bill perfectly: no mechanical room to add, no ducts, no holes in the exterior walls. Just wire and mount them, and you’ve provided your client with efficient, cozy heat that can readily be controlled with the simplest thermostat or the most sophisticated home management system. Ducoterra ultra-slim, infrared radiant ceiling panels are especially favored by designers as they are completely silent, paintable, nearly invisible, and carry a lifetime warranty. 

Retrofitting an Upgrade

If your client needs to replace an hydronic system with a broken boiler or leaky plumbing, or a faulty electric furnace, you will keep their costs down with a brand-new infrared radiant system. And you can get them back the space used up by the boiler and registers, or furnace and ducts. Or, you can get rid of noisy, inefficient cadet heaters and obtrusive baseboards with clean, silent, far more efficient heaters that are up and out of the way.

Cost Effectiveness and Custom Comfort at Scale

Maybe you have a big job like a high-rise condo or office building, and the bathrooms or individuated office spaces need primary or supplemental heat. Wires are much easier and less expensive to install into each of these spaces than hydronic plumbing or forced air ducting. Even multiple head mini-split ductless systems quickly become cumbersome solutions for these rooms. And, at these scales, the costs, especially for installation,  rapidly add up. Infrared radiant heat can be the perfect solution to keep costs down, customize, and manage heat distribution to occupied spaces.

Concerns about the new energy code? We’ve got you covered. 

Are you a homeowner working with a contractor uneasy about using something they haven’t used before? Let’s all jump on a phone or video meetup.

Call 206.880.1558 or email sales@mightyenergy.net