By Dylan King, Water Conservation and Sustainability Specialist for the Town of Erie
My wife and I were on our honeymoon when our house sitter gave us the dreaded call that our furnace had gone out. We had been limping our old air conditioner and furnace along for years knowing that they wouldn’t last forever, but we were hoping we could nurse one more winter out of our aging heating system. With warmer weather in bound and a week still left in the Scottish Highlands we decided that we would start the journey of replacement when we got home. We had been talking about making the switch to an air source heat pump system and now the rubber was hitting the road. We began by googling the best heat pump contractors in our town and chose the top three to receive bids. We received the bids and there was one clear favorite due to the price. We were honestly shocked that we would be able to pull this off! The contractor explained that in our home a new cold-climate heat pump would be able to take care of our heating and cooling load, but efficiency was reduced at temperatures below –5 Fahrenheit. Because of this, he recommended pairing our heat pump with a high efficiency furnace as a backup heat source to save the bank should the temps stay below –10 Fahrenheit for any extended period. Currently we have the system set up so that the heat pump will supply our heat until the outdoor temperature goes below 10 degrees. Once we install solar on our roof, we’ll change this threshold to –5 degrees, maximizing the use of on-site energy generation.
The install was painless and didn’t require any sort of interior work. The new outdoor unit was basically the same size as our old conditioner and worlds quieter. It provides our house with steady heat, and we no longer have to listen to the furnace drone through the attic hatch located next to our bedroom. The unit has multiple speeds which makes it so the air doesn’t feel like it's either operating at full blast or not at all. I wish we had done this a year or so ago as the system is far superior to our old one. A realtor friend told us that it will add value to our home, but most importantly it has added to the overall comfort of our day to day lives.
If you’re ready to replace your gas furnace with an all-electric version, check out the Town of Erie Cold Climate Air Source Heat Pump rebate and other energy efficiency rebates here.