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Samizdata quote of the day – heat pump edition

Oh, how we wish the laws of thermodynamics could be altered, in our favour.

Air-source heat pumps, which included the “mini-splits” popular in warmer climates, will provide less and less heat, the colder it gets outside, and less and less cooling, the warmer it gets outside. And in both cases, will use more and more electricity to produce less and less heating or cooling, as the outside temperature rises or falls, respectively – if you see what I mean. In other words, the more you need them, the less effective and efficient they are – the perfect government solution. You couldn’t make it up.

– Commenter llamas accurately describing the lunacy of heat pumps, which really are the perfect analogy for government: the more you need them, the less effective and efficient they are.

8 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – heat pump edition

  • Stuart Noyes

    I had this plan to keep my open fire so I could keep warm if centralised energy provision failed. I thought I could burn wood or coal.

    I thought I’d be immune to government failure. Since, they have banned coal in favour of more expensive smokeless fuel and banned burning wet wood. I am after all “touchable”.

  • Paul Marks

    The insanity continues.

    The “Green” agenda may not be the most important part of the insanity, but it is certainly playing its part if breaking society – the West has been a very long time dying, but then “there is a lot of ruin in a great nation”.

  • Fred Z

    Societies and civilizations have always been somewhat insane. We are a species of serial monomaniacal religious zealots.

    Christianity is dead and we are moving into the next monomania.

    So far it seems to be the Greeniac religion but I have not yet given up on Islam and am keeping an open eye for new developments in loony. I think the sexual perversion religion will go nowhere, it’s adherents are too ugly.

  • Mark

    I think old Hitchens was of the belief that we basically have to evolve a bit more. He very likely was right.

    Perhaps in 50000 years we may be able to produce a genuine civilisation (don’t get me wrong, what we have is rather more conducive to well being that the feral states which came before).

    It’s something about groups. Individually, or in smaller groups, people are generally fine. Get above a certain size, and that’s when the lunacy and fanaticism start to manifest.

  • JohnB

    There is perhaps a basic error in thinking that improvement, greater facility, life, is a natural process.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes JohnB.

    F.A. Hayek, great man though he was, was mistaken – liberty, a free society, does NOT naturally evolve without anyone consciously wanting it.

    Liberty has to be wanted – people have to understand it, choose it, and be prepared to sacrifice a lot (perhaps even their lives) to achieve it.

    The “Old Whigs” understood this – neither David Hume or F.A. Hayek did, indeed their basic philosophy (what they thought a human was – their de facto rejection of the “I”) was a wall preventing them from grasping the truth.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    Stuart- no need to worry, buy lots of lithium batteries, as they tend to burst into flames spontaneously!
    Christianity is not dead, though traditional Christianity mat be dying. Pentacostalism is doing well in South America, and millions of muslims are becoming Christians because they have dreams where Jesus tells them to join a Church! So Christianity is looking great!

  • Rob Fisher

    My mini-split AC (air to air heat pump) system was pretty good at keeping me warm over the winter. I am in the UK, I got fed up with trying to work in heat so I wanted cooling, but the ability to also heat was an added benefit. I ran experiments on consecutive days with similar weather and it did save me money. It used less than a third of the kWh, which made up for the fact that electricity costs three times as much per kWh.

    One thing to its advantage is that I could just run it in rooms where I was at the time. Even with thermostatic radiator valves, control over where the heat goes is not as good with my gas central heating system. A disadvantage is I don’t have AC in certain rooms, like the bathroom and hallways. So I’ve ended up using a hybrid of gas in the morning to heat the house through, and electric for the rest of the day.

    The AC is also a lot cheaper when I am working at home and just feel a bit chilly. On “slightly chilly days” it costs next to nothing to fire it up for an hour or two. The gas central heating system has a lot more thermal inertia, I guess; takes more energy to get going.

    Heating water is another matter. I remain skeptical of air to water heat pump systems. My gas boiler is great for the shower and I’m not sure how well a heat pump heated hot water tank or thermal battery would keep up with household hot water requirements.

    The nice thing about a free market is I can pick and choose systems which suit my needs best. It’s going to be different for different people. Centrally mandating or subsidising certain tech is going to make things less cost effective.