Q: Another refrigerant leak on my heat pump, is there a better way?
A: After being in the heat moving business for forty illustrious years you would think you had seen it all, but alas NO. Perhaps it is the non-stop quest of glory and financial stability, self-fulfillment, or the inevitable betterment of men (and women) around the world. An endless preoccupation by high rises full of engineers doing what they do. Chemists mixing this with that, crushing red and blue, pressurizing with glue, making the stew, freeze to absolutes, then change the world. They are all looking for a catalyst, a paradigm change, a new idea, THE idea. This could be one of those ideas.
Nitinol is not a common name, nor metal we discuss in the grocery store line. It is nickel-titanium and used in many common medical devices as well as many industrial processes. It has many interesting properties (look it up) but the two that seem to be perfectly suited for something special is its incredible ability to twist and turn with nary a worry (known as super elasticity) and in doing so, absorbs and releases heat energy many times more efficiently than the most efficient heat pump or air conditioner. Yes, just a good twist and turn of this material it can absorb and reject heat resulting in a 20-30-degree temperature change along way. No compressors, pipes, saturation temperatures, leaks, just a mechanical movement of alloys and airflows. Not to say things can’t break, as anything that is turning or burning is capable, but “imagine if” a fundamental shift is upon us, not more complicated, but an embrace of the simple.
I thought it was a cool idea (get it, cool). This process is still lab bound as the big heads work on bringing it to scale. It’s a bit of a bummer for us in the industry of repairing and maintaining heating and cooling systems as there isn’t much to go wrong with that kind of thing. Fortunately, that system is in the near future, and we live in the NOW. Now, here in the valley it is blissfully warming and since we are not in the future we have to contend with our heating and cooling systems that are not so perfect, not so efficient, and so far, not invincible. I love to think of what will be, but realize we need to make the best of what we have. The cold weather that was bound to come to the Flathead did so, and pushed our structures to the max, pushed our heating systems to the breaking point, and ran us silly fixing things. And as usual, a lack of maintenance was the overwhelming culprit.
For goodness sakes have AirWorks and our most excellent technicians do what needs to be done which is take care of what keeps you warm and toasty (strictly furnaces, boilers, heat pumps fella). The guilt trip didn’t work when you were younger (unless it did) but regular maintenance is way better than expensive emergency service. We work on most every kind of system and I can tell you after the last couple of months an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially when it comes to heat pumps. Do you know how much a pound of refrigerant costs now? We will be in the future soon enough but as spring approaches we can prepare you for it by maintaining your equipment, NOW. Don’t hesitate, don’t wait, give AirWorks a call at (406) 257-1341.