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How Efficient Is R290 Air to Water Heat Pump

Views: 345     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2023-03-10      Origin: Site


There’s been a consistent growth in the global need for effective heat pumps over the last decade. While the market isn’t mature yet, explosive growth is expected, where the market may reach three-four times its current size. Some countries like Poland, Netherlands, France, Italy, and Germany are expected to experience 100% growth in 2022-2023.

How to measure a heat pump’s efficiency?

You can measure a heat pump’s efficiency using the COP comparison. COP is an acronym for the coefficient of performance and is used to determine the heat output to electrical input (a ratio). A high coefficient of performance indicates better performance and more efficiency. It means the pump can provide more heat than the amount of electrical input.

How good is the R290 air-to-water heat pump?

A database study has uncovered that R290 air-to-water heat pumps have a higher energy efficiency than most of their competitors. The study aimed to identify various heat pumps’ COP (Coefficient of Performance) and determined that R290 air-to-water units were some of the top-performing systems.

However, it also determined that all heat pumps using low-GWP refrigerants had a similar energy performance differing only in decimals. The German market analysis studied a heat pump database published by BAFA (Federal office for Economic Affairs and Export Control. The list includes all available heat pumps in the German market and their COPs; however, they only considered air-to-water heat pumps.

They analyzed 13 different refrigerants and discovered that the R290 air-to-water heat pump unit consistently shows a higher COP compared to the f-gas equipment. The R290’s air-to-water heat pump’s COP values vary from 6 for warmer conditions to 3 for the lowest ambient temperature.

They calculated the performances with varying ambient and constant target temperatures, typical of wet-based underfloor systems. This is among the most thorough investigations and analyses into the R290 air-to-water heater pump, and it produces conclusive results that are hard to dispute.

What’s the latest news regarding R290 air-to-water heater pump’s performance?

There’s been an explosion in global demand for efficient heat pumps and the natural refrigerant, the R290, is the new torch bearer. The R290 has various advantages, making it better than alternative refrigerants. For instance, it requires about 75% less filling quantity. Additionally, the refrigerant provides significant benefits to customers and has a low Global Warming potential (GWP).

The R290 has a few advantages as a pure refrigerant and not a blend like the HFO. First, it’s an efficient heat pump and users can top it up without affecting its balance, which (in turn) affects the system’s operation. However, you should note that the heat pump is good for medium or low temperature requirements.

R290 pumps have a 70°C maximum flow temperature but usually operate at 60°C and have a 40°C return temperature, meaning that it is efficient to flow temperature, but not so sensitive to return temperature. It is true that the refrigerant can’t reach many high temperatures; however, it still has many useful applications.

R290 heat pumps are the natural option for the future

More Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) have changed their vision regarding long-term investments because of proposed bans and F-gas regulations because of the growing uncertainty surrounding f-gases’ impact on the environment. This makes natural refrigerants a more attractive alternative for investors and other companies in the niche.

Factors affecting an R290 air-to-water heat pump’s efficiency

Factors that affect an R290 air-to-water heat pump include its model, size, temperature, climate, the system’s installation, maintenance, and the heat pump’s design. It helps to consult with qualified HVAC professionals for help in determining the best R290 air-to-water heat pump that suits your circumstances and needs.


A heat pump’s model can affect its efficiency since various models have different designs, features, characteristics, and technology affecting their performance. Factors that affecting a heat pump’s efficiency based on the model include:


A heat pump’s size does affect its efficiency depending on use. For instance, under or oversized heat pumps can have difficulties operating optimally.

For instance, heat pumps smaller than the area they are supposed to heat will have to work more than their optimal limit to achieve the desired temperatures. Bigger units frequently cycle between on and off, making them less efficient.


Different R290 air-to-water heat pump models have different types of technologies, like compressors affecting their efficiency. For instance, compressors driven by inverters can adjust the speed to fit the cooling and heating load. This results in more energy savings and greater efficiency.

HSPF and SEER ratings

Manufacturers rate heat pumps’ efficiency using the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) and the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). Higher HSPF and SEER ratings indicate better performance, higher energy savings, and increased efficiency. R290 heat pumps offer increased efficiency, saving you more money that you would have spent on energy costs.


Various heat pump models have varying features like variable-speed blowers, multi-stage compressors, and programable thermostats, making them more efficient. R290 air-to-water heat pumps with these features operate better, helping you save money that you would have used on energy costs.

Temperature and Climate

Different temperatures significantly affect an air-to-water heat pump’s efficiency. In some cases, heat pumps have to work extra hard to transfer heat from the environment into the water circulated in a building if external temperatures are lower than internal temperatures.

People using their air-to-water heat pumps in freezing temperatures should expect less efficiency from their heat pumps. This happens because the heat pump has to divert energy to enter a defrost cycle whenever frost builds up on its outdoor unit. The heat pump temporarily stops heating the water during this period. Increased defrost cycles make the system less efficient.

A heat pump’s COP determines it’s efficiency. As seen earlier, heat pumps with higher COPs are more efficient than those with low COPs. The R290 air-to-water heat pump is more efficient than other heat pumps and has a higher COP regardless of the temperature difference between the outdoor air and the water that needs heating.

One other thing that affects an air-to-water heat pump’s efficiency is the heating load. The heating load refers to the heat required to maintain comfortable internal temperatures. This varies with outdoor temperature and can increase when the outdoor temperature decreases, making the pump less efficient.


Humidity undeniably affects the R290 air-to-water heat pump’s efficiency, depending on whether you’re using it for cooling or heating.

Heating mode

Air-to-water heat pumps extract heat from the environment and transfer it indoors. Often, heat pumps have to work extra hard when removing heat from humid air since the water vapor condenses on the heat exchanger making it less efficient.

Cooling mode

Heat pumps can have a hard time transferring to the outdoors if the indoor air is humid. Often, the heat pump has to dehumidify the air before heat transfer, which can take more energy. The air may feel clammy or sticky if the heat pump is struggling to keep up with a huge humidity content.

Installation and maintenance

Proper installation of an R290 heat pump ensures maximum efficiency during operation. Improper installation can cause poor performance, reduced efficiency, and increased energy consumption. You should hire an experienced and professional technician who knows the system’s specifics.

Additionally, a professional should accurately measure and fill the refrigerant charge during installation. Undercharging or overcharging the refrigerant can make the system run inefficiently. Doing this can reduce overall performance and efficiency while increase energy consumption.

You should also have they system regularly maintained to ensure maximum efficiency during operation. This includes checking electrical connections, cleaning the system’s air filters, checking the refrigerant’s charge, and lubricating all moving parts. Avoiding regular maintenance can lead to breakdowns, reduced efficiency, and high energy consumption.

You should also have the heat exchanger cleaned for maximum efficiency. The heat exchanger is essential to air-to-water heat pumps because it collects and transfers heat from outdoor and indoor units. However, the heat exchanger may become dirty, making it less efficient. The dirt can lead to high energy consumption and decreased efficiency. Lastly, adding proper insulation to the refrigerant will help prevent heat loss and increase the heat pump’s efficiency and performance, saving lots of energy.

How to make an R290 air-to-water heat pump more efficient

You can use several strategies to make your R290 air-to-water heat pump more efficient. These include:

Using a suitably sized heat pump

Upgrading to high-efficiency models

Doing regular maintenance

Using programable thermostats

Using heat pump inverters

Insulating the building

Taking advantage of your building’s natural ventilation


An R290 air-to-water heat pump is very efficient and one of the best heat pump you can get for your property. The heat pump has high COP rates, low energy consumption, and is safer for the environment. However, you should consider many other factors during purchase, installation, and maintenance.

For instance, you should get the correct, adequately sized model, do proper installation, and maintenance for low energy consumption and increased efficiency. Overall, you should seek help for a trained and experience professional to guide you through the process of purchasing, installing and maintaining an R290 air-to-water heat pump.

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