Converting from Home-Heating Oil to a Heat Pump, Part 2: Installation and Service



Photo by U.S. Department of Energy

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.

Installing a whole-house, heat pump-based heating and cooling system is a complex and expensive job. You need to be sure to choose an experienced, well established and dependable contractor who will work closely with you and supply you with any information you need to be comfortable with this long-term investment. With the requirement to eliminate the use of fossil fuels as soon as possible, there will be new arrivals on the scene and mistakes will be made, so you need someone who will be happy with you staying on top of the design and installation.  

Where I live in New York State, the Energy Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA) maintains a list of contractors certified to perform home efficiency evaluations and upgrades but at this time, I don’t know if they do the same for heat pump HVAC contractors. You can search for qualified contractors in your area using the Internet.

I responded to glossy brochure marketing information and chose Go Green Express, a business in the nearby city of Newburgh, N.Y., and which is a certified Fujitsu dealers (meaning their technicians are trained by Fujitsu and they must achieve a minimum number of installs each year). And although the end result is what I want, mistakes were made  and I paid more than I needed to because of those mistakes. I’ll help you avoid similar mistakes with recommendations in this text.

7/11/2021 12:14:58 PM

I appreciate your taking the time and making the effort to post this information and share your learnings. I think perhaps you bought into the maintenance recommendations for service contracts, but I suggest that contractors see service contracts as a way to set up an annuity program for themselves. I doubt that actual maintenance requirements and costs must reach the very high levels you listed here. I'd like to hear more about that. Also, I suggest that a slightly more centralized solution with fewer head units and a bit more duct work would reduce costs considerably.

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