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Converting from Home-Heating Oil to a Heat Pump, Part 1: Cost and Initial Assessment

| 11/27/2019 11:34:00 AM


This two-part series documents homeowner Peter Callaway’s experience in a region that relies predominantly on fuel-oil for home heating to convert his household to a heat pump system. This heat pump system supplanted fossil fuels used for Peter’s heating, cooling and hot water heating needs with a more renewable alternative.

Part 1 describes how the author took advantage of a free home energy audit to make energy-efficiency changes and explains why the switch to heat-pump technology was made and what benefits were expected and achieved. Learn how to estimate running cost savings based on a Central Hudson online tool and how to calculate actual savings from actual use.

In Part 2, find out how to work with a contractor and get the job done, with Peter’s thoughts on cost, technology, and service contracts. The author does not intend this article to be a recommendation or endorsement for a particular technology or contractor.

I live in a 1,624 square-foot, ranch-style house that was heated by an oil furnace with baseboard and cooled by window-installed air conditioners. Hot water was provided by a coil in the oil furnace, which meant having the furnace on all year. To lower my household carbon footprint while increasing my energy security by moving away from oil, I converted to a heat pump-based heating and cooling system. My heat pump system has different units for the living and sleeping areas, a separate unit for the basement, and yet another smaller, specialized heat pump for hot water.

I threw out the 50-year-old, rusting, low-efficiency oil furnace, drained all the pipes, and left them in place but sealed off. In case of prolonged electricity outage, I have a propane gas insert fireplace unit in the family room in the basement, together with a number of standalone electric resistance heaters.

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