No. A SunPump is considered a home's primary source of heat. Traditionally, a basic hot water heat pump was used as a supplementary heat source. We have turned the table on that, creating a solar/heat pump hybrid that functions as a home's main heating method. The SunPump heats your home day and night, rain or shine, and with only one moving mechanical part, it is a remarkably reliable piece of technology.
Unlike solar PV or solar thermal, the SunPump is able to produce energy on demand, Summer and Winter, day and night, rain or snow. This makes the SunPump reliable and cost effective, not only when compared with other renewable energy heating systems, but with non-renewable sources of energy such as natural gas as well.
We have about twenty units (and growing rapidly) installed and working. The first owners of our SunPumps have been very satisfied and are generally extremely enthusiastic about our product. Many have been so helpful as to allow us test their systems in order to ensure impeccable performance and quality control for future customers. We believe that a tipping point has been reached in the public consciousness, whereby people actively want to choose renewable sources of energy, so long as it is affordable and efficient. The overwhelmingly positive reaction of our existing customers has reinforced this belief.
Snow in and of itself will not effect the SunPump. The SunPump uses a refrigerant that boils at -50°C (-58°F). It generates heat proficiently when the outdoor temperature is above -15°C (5°F). So long as the outdoor temperature does not fall below -15°C, the SunPump will continue to function proficiently, day and night, regardless of snow. A built-in 7500 watt generator kicks in if the temperature ever falls below -15°C, insuring that your home and domestic hot water always remain heated.
Because the SunPump uses a refrigerant that boils at -50°C (-58°F), the SunPump is able to work in the dark, in rain or snow, and at sub-freezing ambient temperatures. Solar thermal traditionally uses a water/glycol mix that boils at a higher temperature, making solar thermal systems less efficient and more dependant on fair weather.
The SunPump is more efficient and cheaper than geothermal ground source heat pumps. The refrigerant SunPump uses in its rooftop solar panels boils at -50°C (-58°F), allowing for sufficient energy to be generated to heat a home without the ground loop or well required by ground source heat pumps.
For a SunPump to work proficiently for both space heating and domestic hot water, the outside temperature needs to be over -15°C (5°F). Once the ambient air temperature outdoors drops below -15°C, the heating load increases and the heat pump's efficiency begins to decrease. Every SunPump comes with a built-in 7500 watt electric backup generator, which kicks in immediately should the outside temperature fall too low.
There are parts of the installation can be done by a person with construction experience. However, realistically a few qualified trades people will need to be involved in order to complete the installation (plumber, electrician, HVAC, etc.).