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Personal Heat Pump Story


by Glennis Drew

In 2015 I decided to stop my practice of using an electric heater to warm (and a window air conditioner to cool) the attic space where I have my computer and our TV room.  After some research I determined to replace these electric hogs and not-so-safe seasonal annoyances with a heat pump.

My oil company supplied me with an estimate of $2,950.00 to purchase a 15,000 BTU unit and install the heating/cooling piece (with remote control) in the attic as well as installing the ”engine/air intake” downstairs and  outdoors on the side of the house.

This is what I imagined:

The reality, however, is that the specifications call for the unit to be placed such that there is space all around the inside unit.  The unit must actually be lower on the wall and not flush to the ceiling.  It is also larger than it appears in all the illustrations I saw.

The outside piece is pretty much as the illustrations depict:

It was all installed in a timely manner and performed as advertised that autumn and into the winter.

We had a thaw in January and in February the temperature plunged back down to normal.  The unit stopped responding to the remote control.  I called the company and was instructed to change the batteries in the remote.  I changed the batteries and nothing happened.  I called the vendor again and they sent out their crew, who discovered something like this:

The water dripping off the roof in the thaw had accumulated inside the heat pump fan and frozen the works when the temperatures plunged again.  The repairmen stated they had not seen anything like it before.  Right.

My clever husband thawed out the unit with the electric heater I had striven to eliminate in the first place and made a little “house” for the outside heat pump unit:

All has been well ever since.

One other note is that I applied to the State of Vermont for an Energy Efficiency Rebate when I replaced my ancient oil tank. I have had three letters from them since informing me that although I filled out the paperwork properly, the fund is depleted and they will consider my application again in the next budget.