Air Source Heat Pumps for Residential Baseboard Heating

CCHRC is working with Kodiak Electric Association and Alaska Electric Light & Power (both in Southeast Alaska) to identify air source heat pumps that work for homes with baseboard hydronic heating. CCHRC is investigating the stats and availability of compatible technologies for residential applications in the U.S. and foreign markets.

Air‐to‐water heat pump systems currently on the market are best suited for in‐floor hydronic heating applications. These supply hot water at approximately 90–110 degrees F. However, many homes in Alaska use baseboard hydronic heat emitters, which require substantially higher supply water temperatures (approximately 160 to 180 degrees F). There may be new ASHP designs using R744 (CO2 refrigerant) that could satisfy these demands. However, the technology readiness and domestic availability is currently unknown.

For homes with baseboard heating, two primary options for using ASHP heating systems include

  1. Identify a heat pump that is capable of high‐temperature operation, or
  2. Retrofit the heat delivery system to radiators that can operate with conventional air‐to-water heat pumps.
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Air Source Heat Pumps in Southeast Alaska ASHPs take heat from the outdoor air and use electricity to raise the temperature. Because they require less electricity than electric heating appliances, heat pumps could reduce heating costs for Southeast residents.