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HEAT PUMP SALES HIT ALL-TIME RECORD!
In 2005, Heat Pump sales in the USA hit nearly nine million units! You might wonder why BEJO thinks that is newsworthy and here's WHY!
Over the last 55 years, many new products have been introduced. None, however, has a history of promotional deception like the Heat Pump which is nothing more than an Air Conditioner that runs backwards. Typically, an Air Conditioner (A/C) picks up (absorbs) heat inside your home in the summertime and carries it outside where it is released into the outdoor air. A Heat Pump picks up heat outside and releases it inside your house. In a sense, the Heat Pump tries to refrigerate the outdoor air! The colder the air is outside, the less heat units are available and the longer it takes to capture it, liquefy the gas media, then release it into the house.
All products that draw on sophisticated scientific principles usually have what developers call "barrier" problems. The elimination of such problems usually require considerable research and engineering effort so that the product will become commercially successful -- meaning it can be sold at a profit! Sometimes, Consumer products are introduced before the "barrier" problems are adequately solved.
For example, ever have trouble with rechargeable NiCad batteries? Of course, you have! NiCad batteries had a "memory" anomaly, limited rechargeability and some other quirks. But the marketing people knew how profitable a rechargeable battery would be, so they went into production and for over forty years, Consumers bought them even though they did not live up to their claims for long-life. Eventually, the Metal-oxide Battery was found to not have a "memory" problem. Not long after introduction, the promise of the Metal-oxide battery proved to leave something to be desired, too!
What do companies do when they have an almost-perfect product to sell? They call on their Marketing gurus to whip up a bunch of weasel-words and lies and go ahead and advertise the living-H out it! This process of Wham and Scam works very well in the USA because American Consumers have more money than anyone else and they have little if any knowledge about science, engineering and virtually no sense about what anything should cost!
THE HEAT PUMP
The Heat Pump/Air Conditioner is a classic story of a gigantic marketing spoof that has continued to be successful in spite of the product's long standing limitations.
The A/C system is able to cool your house based upon a physical science phenomenon that involves heat absorption and release that occurs when there is a "change of state" from liquid to vapor or a gaseous state and vice versa. Depending on where you live (i.e., latitude) and the extremes of winter temperatures, a HP may be okay. But the technology is constrained by the limits of the compressor unit. the most costly part of the system and the part that is subject to the most wear and tear. For residential purposes, the compressor and the pressures it is able to sustain is critical. In 1988, a HP operating in North Carolina would reach its limit for producing heat at about 28 degrees F. Obviously, a HP installed in Washington, DC, Chicago or Denver would be useless. So -- how have they been sold and used in those regions?
Fortunately, another big business -- the electrical generating firms -- were facing a profitability problem: they had to find a way to sell electrical power for heating homes. They were already servicing baseboard electrical heating devices but the Consumer's learned very early that electrical power was the most expensive kind of heat compared to oil and gas. Many had invested in nuclear power plants and they had surplus capacity during winter. The question they faced was: How can we sell more electricity in the winter time?
Somehow, Heat Pump producers and the Power Companies discovered each other and a Grand Conspiracy (i.e., Business Plan) was developed. Inside the Heat Pump Air Handler (where the blower is located) they would install an Electrical Heating package, a coil or panel of nichrome resistant wire. When the Heat Pump reached its lower limit on a cold night, the system would switch over to pure electrical power. Typical two-stage units can use as much as 10,000 watts! Customers did not have to know that much about the product as long as they were warm!
Recent research has shown that 90% of the owners of Heat Pumps, DO NOT know that their system periodically uses pure electrical resistance heat. They also do not know that a Heat Pump cannot produce heat when the outside temperatures drop into the 20's! They do not realize that although they tried to avoid using a purely electrical heat system, that's what they are using anyway!
Read the installation Manuals for Heat Pumps and you will be amazed at how careful they are to not tell you the facts about this little secret. Even most service people have been trained to say nothing about this little secret -- job security, yaknow!
The principles used in the Air Conditioner/Heat Pump are pretty simple. Actually, any proper course in 8th grade Science will cover this subject. American Consumers really don't care much about science or, in fact, have little interest in anything mechanical. electrical or electronics. All of which has made the USA marketplace unique and a joy to deal with. Dumb Consumers are a joy to deal with! A uninformed Consumer Public has been a reason why Consumers buy Extended Warrantees on products. Even those Warrantees are another form of rip-off as they permit the manufacturer to unload his liability (i.e., malpractice) onto the Consumer! The most easily deceived Consumers are those who immigrate to this country -- especially illegals! That is why local retailers oppose stopping illegal immigration.
This year (2006), the U. S. Department of Energy has mandated that Heat Pumps must meet a higher standard of performance, The SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) for A/Cs is now "13". The HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) for HPs is "7.7".
We would be remiss if we did not add one more thought to this informational item. The heating contracting and maintenance people who you call to service your furnace and heat pump, practice many scams designed to force you to call them for more service. The same applies to any kind of refrigeration product. If you find that each time you need service, the serviceman adds more gas (i.e., refrigerant) at $15-$20 per pound, he more than likely has not tightened the cap on the Schrager valves. Some "swiftees" will remove the neoprene gasket in the cap which guarantees you will lose 2-3 pounds every 4-6 months. After this happens several times, you may ask why the gas is escaping and he will gladly recommend putting in a new Heat Pump (e.g., about $5,000) or a new condenser coil (e.g.,about $1,000)! Before you do anything look for a more reliable serviceman, then ask the new guy to show you the Schrager valve caps. Don't know what they are? Shame! The Schrager valve is like the valve in your tires on your car! The caps cost about a dollar each. The older your Heat Pump, the more they play this game with you! This game in the USA is called "doing business"!
The kind of business they teach at business schools follows a very simple logic: the Uninformed and Ignorant Buyer is NOT our responsibility!! Marketers and Merchandisers keep this system Honest their way!
That is why they are the ones who get the big bonuses!