Heat Pumps Handle Sub-Zero Stretch
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Heat Pumps Proven Winners in Deep Cold
Record-breaking low temperatures descended upon Northern New England in the last days of 2017, hanging out for days and freezing pipes, immobilizing cars, and straining many home heating systems. Our customers with solar-powered heat pumps, however, had a different experience than many in the region – they experienced warmth and comfort in their homes without the worry of high oil bills or the anxiety that oil wouldn’t get delivered in time.
Cold climate heat pump technology has improved by leaps and bounds in the last few years. Mitsubishi Electric heat pumps are rated to produce heat at temps as low as -15°F, and we had customers reporting that their units were still putting out heat at temps -20°F or lower… well in excess of manufacturer specs.
A heat pump powered by a grid-tied solar array can heat a home for the equivalent of $1/gallon for oil, and does so without needing outside fuel inputs. Instead of waiting for the fuel truck to arrive, a grid-tied solar array banks solar credits all summer long, for use in the winter when you need the electricity for heating your home.
NOTE: With all that said, we still recommend all customers keep a backup source of heat for extreme conditions, and many keep their old oil boiler around just for backup, or having resistive electric heat or a wood stove… Just in case.
We checked in with a few customers to hear first-hand how their heat pumps performed. Peter and Holly Wild of Brunswick, Maine remarked how their system exceeded expectations:
“The true test of our system has been these last several weeks of sub-zero temperatures and stiff winds. We have been so happy with this system. Combined with the woodstove we have always had, it has been the perfect answer to heating our home! The system passed the test with flying colors. And we get an added bonus as we watch the oil delivery trucks by-pass our house several times a day.”
Eliza Donoghue and Marco Aliberti, of southern Maine, also reported that their multi-split heat pump unit performed admirably through the cold spell:
“The heat pumps have been working just fine. They continued to produce heat on the coldest nights. On those cold nights we set the temp at 68 degrees and when I come down in the morning our internal thermometer reads between 64-65 degrees right around 4:30-5:30 AM. The internal temperature comes up as the day moves along and my guess by mid-morning is right at the temperature we have set the pumps at. We have used back-up heat once during the day for approximately an hour, otherwise it’s all heat pumps!”
Heat Pumps a Necessary Solution to a Dangerous Dependency
This severe weather event highlighted just how vulnerable our dependence on oil is. If it weren’t bad enough that we exported $4+ billion/year from our local economy to pay for fuels that pollute the environment, our reliance on those fuels also puts us in physical danger when the supply gets scarce.
In the peak of the extended cold snap, heating oil dealers could not make deliveries to customers fast enough, with most companies working 7 days in order to keep up. Our heart goes out to people who were stuck in the dangerous cold and struggling to get oil to their homes.
The financial savings of solar panels and heat pumps is so powerful, that in all parts of our service territory (Maine, New Hampshire, and Northern Massachusetts) you can get a loan for the two systems and pay a monthly rate lower than your current energy bills! Contact us to learn how to get started.