Heat Pumps Held Their Own During Arctic Blast in Colorado

“Heat Pumps Don’t Work in the Winter” – a myth

We hear it all the time: “heat pumps don’t work in the winter.” To that we say: “No, heat pumps used to not work very well in the winter.” Heat pump technology has come a LONG way in the past decade, rendering this belief no more than a myth.

Continue reading “Heat Pumps Held Their Own During Arctic Blast in Colorado”

Heat Pump Water Heaters Mean More Hot Water and Better Energy Efficiency

Heat Pump Water Heaters Mean More Hot Water & Energy Efficiency - Elephant Energy

Customer: Jordan Urban

Home: Single family home, built in the 1960s

Project: Heat pump water heater

When therapist Jordan Urban and her husband moved into their new home in September 2021, they knew they wanted to make some changes. “We knew we wanted to move it in the direction of being more energy efficient; to be both environmentally and cost efficient,” Jordan said. The ranch style home had been built in the 1960s and there were many upgrades they could tackle, each with the opportunity to choose a more energy efficient option than they currently had.  They just had to pick which one to focus on first. “We were thinking about our hot water heater, our furnace, our windows, our lights,” she said. After constantly running out of hot water during the first few months in their home, they decided to switch from their natural gas water heater to a heat pump water heater.


Once they made the decision to upgrade to a heat pump water heater, they realized they were out of their depth. “We didn’t know much about it and we wanted to learn,” Jordan said. They did a little bit of research and asked friends and family who’d made the switch, but there were so many moving parts.  Which unit was the right one for their home? How did they get the best price? How did they find rebates? They were trying to figure out the right balance between cost effectiveness and energy efficiency, but with a new baby in the house, they didn’t have the time to weed through all of the information. “We felt overwhelmed trying to integrate all of those puzzle pieces,” Jordan said. One of their friends knew about Elephant Energy and suggested they reach out for help.


Jordan and her husband needed someone to guide them through the whole process and Elephant Energy was able to do that. “We threw all of our questions at them and they were like, ‘yep, we know where you’re coming from,” she said. Jordan and her husband were provided with a list of heat pump water heater options that compared the size, features, and price of each.  “They helped us start with this vague jumble of ideas and then narrow it down,” she said. “That was a really helpful piece of the process.” Once they decided on the unit they wanted, the next step was locating it and coordinating the installation. “We would have had to call stores to find the best deal,” she said. “They found the actual pump and orchestrated with the installer. They also did all the work of communicating with the installer.”  “They did all of the legwork.” “One of the services they provided us was taking things off our plate that would have taken us a lot of time,” she said. That included things they didn’t even know were necessary like doing an assessment to figure out the right size water heater for their home and being there for the installation in case any problems came up. The guidance didn’t end when the installation was over. Jordan and her husband were also connected with people that streamlined the rebate application process through Boulder and Xcel Energy. “They just really pared it down to something simplified,” she said.


Their new heat pump water heater is working much better than their old natural gas one. “We definitely have more hot water, which was the original impetus for replacing our old hot water heater,” she said. “We were just running out really fast.” They expect to see energy savings in the coming months once they have more time with the new appliance. Jordan’s heat pump water heater project cost a total of $3,200 and they were able to receive $1,750 in rebates. In the end, Jordan said the upgrade and working with Elephant Energy was a no brainer. “They’re the ideal combination of something that benefits the world environmentally, but also benefits you personally in terms of saving money and time,” she said. “They can take a process that feels overwhelming and complex and help make it feel more simplified and clear.” To learn more about heat pump water heaters and how we take care of all the legwork when you make the switch, read about our solutions or get in touch. Curious where to start your electrification journey? Get Your Electrification Roadmap here! In the Front Range and want a quote from us? Click here to get an instant estimate!
“They’re the ideal combination of something that benefits the world environmentally, but also benefits you personally in terms of saving money and time,” she said.

HVAC Repair – A Modern, Streamlined Path to a More Energy Efficient Home

How HVAC Repair and Home Sealing Can Improve the Efficiency of Your Home - Elephant Energy

Project: HVAC Repair – Home sealing and heat pump water heater

Customer: Alex Roetter

Home: Single family foursquare home, built 1908

Alex Roetter was immediately drawn in by the character of the 1908 foursquare home he and his family bought in 2018. 

But a home that’s over 100 years old comes with a long list of needed repairs and improvements

For the past few years, Alex has overseen major renovations to modernize the home.

He’s attempted to improve the energy efficiency with each new HVAC repair project and even put solar panels on the roof.

“They’re not specifically energy efficiency projects, but when I do work, I improve insulation,” Alex said. “Every time I do something, I try to make it better from that point of view.”


This past year, Alex started focusing even more on reducing his home’s carbon footprint.

“It’s becoming more and more urgent,” he said.

He had two different issues he wanted to solve. One was the huge amount of energy it took to heat and cool his home. The other was his inefficient gas water heater.

“I just want to burn less gas and my water heater burns gas,” he said.

“My house is old and not well insulated so in the winter the only room I’m able to effectively heat is the mechanical room because the gas water heater is so inefficient it just warms the space.” 

“I just don’t want a crazy inefficient thing burning gas.”

After years of working with HVAC repair general contractors who could be hard to communicate with, he wanted a more streamlined experience this time around.

Alex heard about Elephant Energy through his local startup networks and decided to try working with a dedicated energy efficiency contractor.

“Their whole mission is the thing I’m trying to do,” he said. “Reduce residential carbon emissions.”

Solution – HVAC Repair

After an energy efficiency assessment, Alex received guidance from Elephant Energy on what would be the most effective steps forward.

“They came over, they looked through the house, they talked through things they could do,” he said. 

“They also reviewed an energy efficiency report that I’d had done and we talked through what was economically feasible and what wasn’t.”

Alex received a plan for two improvements that would meet his goals and fit his budget: a home sealing project that would eliminate air leaks and improve his insulation and a heat pump water heater to replace the gas one.

Alex said it was a much smoother and efficient experience working with Elephant Energy instead of a general contractor.

“They’re smart and modern and responsive and know their stuff,” he said.

“General contractors, there are some amazing ones, but in general it’s a pretty old-fashioned industry,” he said. 

“It’s way better just to deal with DR and a modern startup instead of chasing GCs around. So that made me happy.” 

Results – HVAC Repair

The heat pump water heater was only installed a month ago, so Alex is still waiting on the first energy bills to see the impact of the switch.

But the evidence that things have improved is already clear.

“The mechanical room is not hot anymore, which is good because that was all a complete waste of gas to heat a room that I don’t live in,” Alex said.

“And the water heater works great.”

The total cost for Alex’s water heater HVAC repair was around $5,000 and he received $1,200 in rebates. The sealing and insulation project was $1,000.

As he moves onto the next big upgrades, like a new HVAC, he would definitely work with Elephant Energy again.

“I like that you’re dealing with a modern, responsive, customer-focused company,” he said. “They’re clear on what they can do for you and then they make it all happen.”

“You have a single point of contact and you don’t have to worry.” 

“They even do things like apply for the rebates for you and preemptively take that amount off your bill so then you’re not chasing down the utility company to see if they ever sent you a rebate.”

To learn more about our customer-focused approach to energy efficiency upgrades and how a heat pump water heater can reduce your home’s carbon footprint, read about our solutions or get in touch.

“I like that you’re dealing with a modern, responsive, customer-focused company,” he said. “They’re clear on what they can do for you and then they make it all happen.”

Induction Cooking- A Simple Fix for Safer Cooking

Induction stove cooktops are a simple fix for safer cooking - Elephant Energy

Project: Induction cooking – cooktop installation

Customer: Sam Harrington and Beverly Bendix

Home: Condo, built in 2004

The home Sam Harrington and his wife Beverly Bendix bought in November 2021 was a natural fit. 

Sam is Director of Sustainable Packaging at Danone and Bev works for the Rocky Mountain Institute doing clean energy consulting. Both spend their days thinking about climate change, so cutting their carbon footprint at home was important.

The community they found had been built with sustainability in mind and their condo had already been updated with several energy saving details like ductless mini-splits, for home heating and cooling, and rooftop solar panels. 

Soon after buying, they sought to rid the place of its last remaining natural gas appliance: the gas cooktop.


Sam had read all of the research about air quality and natural gas. Cooking with gas stoves causes repeated spikes of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the air, which can lead to asthma and other respiratory illnesses in children.

Especially with a toddler son at home, they were ready to get rid of the old cooktop.

“We went onto Facebook Marketplace and bought a used induction cooktop for $800,” Sam said.

The trouble came after buying it. It turns out their home’s wiring didn’t have the amperage to support it along with their other electric appliances.

They hired a couple of different electricians who told them it would cost around $20,000 to increase the electricity capacity of their home and install the cooktop. 

“We definitely can’t spend $800 on an appliance and then $20,000 to install it,” Sam said. “So we weren’t accepting the answers from the electricians that we got and kept looking for solutions that might be more creative than just going from 100 amp to 200 amp service.”

Solution – Induction Cooking

Sam had done some research and found out about the Simple Switch, which allows you to expand your home power by toggling two large appliances on the same circuit. If one appliance is running when you turn on the other one, the first will shut off.

When Sam took it to the electricians who’d given him the quotes and asked about it, they said they didn’t have any experience with it or didn’t know whether they could make it work.

Luckily, his wife Bev had heard about Elephant Energy through her work.

Sam said, “When I took it to Elephant Energy, they said, ‘We’d be happy to figure that out and make it work. And if there are any alternative ways to do that, we’ll speak up on that, too.’”

The electricians had given him a list of other contractors he’d have to hire after they did the electrical install: a drywall person to fix holes in the walls and ceiling and a plumber to disconnect the old gas stove.

“Elephant Energy coordinated all of that,” he said.

“They had a plumber come out and properly disconnect the old gas cooktop and remove it for us. A couple different electricians came. It required cutting holes in the ceiling and walls to run wires and then they had a handyman come out and put it back together again.” 

“And now you can’t see where they opened it up,” he said. “Really complete work.”

The full cost of the installation including the used cooktop and the Simple Switch was $3,250, a fraction of what others quoted.


Their induction cooking cooktop works perfectly. It boils water super fast and, because it’s a sheet of glass, it’s quick to clean compared to the nooks and crannies of a gas stove.

But the best benefit is the improved air quality in their home.

“Shortly before we got this installed, I got this air filter system that is probably 10 feet away in the living room,” Sam said. “Even with the vent hood on, it would come on most of the time when we were cooking with natural gas.”

“It detects the air pollution in the room, so you’d hear the fan start to speed up and go on high power mode. That rarely happens with the induction.” 

The induction cooking cooktop is a lot safer for their son. The sheet of glass doesn’t get hot and doesn’t pose the same burn risk as natural gas flame.

“The only downside to the system we put in is if we’re drying clothes and we try to cook on the cooktop, the dryer turns off,” he said. “I don’t think that’s actually happened since we installed it.”

“It’s more of a theoretical inconvenience.”To learn more about how we can improve your indoor air quality with induction cooking or help you move away from natural gas appliances, read about our solutions or get in touch.

“I think Elephant Energy is really savvy and up to date on what we need to do to improve our homes, fight climate change, and be more comfortable and safe.”

The Last Major Energy Efficiency Upgrade They Needed

Improving Water Heat with a Heat Pump Water Heater - Elephant Energy

Project: Heat pump water heater

Customer: E.J. Klock-McCook

Home: Townhome, built 1978

E.J. Klock-McCook is no stranger to energy efficiency projects. 

He leads the transportation electrification division at the Rocky Mountain Institute and has spent the last six years going through a checklist of energy efficiency upgrades on the townhome he bought with his wife.

“When we bought the house we did a top to bottom renovation,” E.J. said. “That included switching from electric resistance heat to air source heat pumps. Insulation and air seal in the attic and LED everything down to the lights in the microwave.” 

They also installed new windows and switched to an induction range.

“The water heater was the last significant thing that could be done,” he said.


With his connections and knowledge, E.J. was able to find great contractors for his previous projects.

But when it came time to get rid of his old water heater, things got more complicated.

“There was a real question about whether the room was big enough without ducting it,” he said. “And how cold would it make it and would it be shutting off?”

He started talking to contractors a year ago and received unsatisfactory results. But this year, the old water heater was officially past its life and it was time to make it happen.

E.J. heard about Elephant Energy in a heat pump forum he participated in at work and decided to reach out for help.

“They were super responsive and knowledgeable and they came over and did a thorough evaluation of the house and we talked through a lot of things,” he said.

But the quote was higher than E.J. wanted so he called some other contractors to compare his options.

One didn’t understand how a heat pump water heater worked, while another was familiar with them, but didn’t think it would work in the smaller room.

“He was like, ‘this room is too small and you’re going to have to put a louvered door on here and you’re going to have to sign this waiver about the noise it creates and it’s going to switch out of heat pump mode all the time,’” he said.

“That technical issue was not cut and dry because that room, the volume of it is on the line of what the manufacturer says is the limit.”

After asking friends at work for advice, he went back to Elephant Energy.

Water Heat Solution

After another conversation with Elephant Energy, E.J. received a plan that put his worries to rest.

“They basically said, we think it’s gonna work, but here’s the plan if it doesn’t,” he said.

Doing the project during a cold weather month would allow them to immediately see if the unit would make the room too cold. If it turned out to be a problem, there were steps to address it.

“That really helped,” he said. “And we negotiated down to a good price.” 

“Then from there, the whole actual experience of what they did here was fantastic.”

One of E.J.’s concerns was that the only way to get down to the mechanical room was a very expensive flight of stairs they’d had installed during their renovations. He expressed his worry that carrying a big water heater and tools down the stairs could damage it.

“And they’re like, ‘we’ve totally got it’,” he said. “‘We told the contractor up front and we’ll be on top of it during the day’ and they were.” 

“There was no issue with that whatsoever. They got an extra guy to help bring it down without ever having to set it down on the wooden steps.”

There were also additional touches that went above and beyond what he’d expected.

“The plumber they used did a fantastic job and you can tell just by looking at the work,” he said. “He did a beautiful job and added some details that weren’t in the scope of work that will make it more user serviceable down the road.”

“It was definitely one of the best contractor experiences I’ve ever had and I’ve had plenty,” he said.

Results – Improved Water Heat!

Two months after the heat pump water heater was installed, E.J. is happy with the results.

“You shouldn’t have to think about a water heater much and that’s certainly the case,” he said. “It outputs plenty of hot water.”

His biggest concerns about how the unit would perform in the small room have been relieved, too.

“The whole concern about the room getting too cold turned out to be a total non-issue,” he said. 

“It was pretty cold when they installed it. The baseline temperature in that room is about 58 degrees and the lowest I ever saw it was 50, which is still 5 degrees above the cut off for the unit.” 

E.J. has already seen a significant drop in their energy use compared to last year at the same time, but it will take a few months to accurately see the effects.

“In the winter, the heat pump’s working really hard, but now that we’re into the mild months where it’s not doing anything on heating or cooling, then the water heater is the biggest load and it should become apparent,” he said.

The total cost for the heat pump water heater project was $5.126, which included the water heater, an electrical disconnect, and a thermal expansion tank to bring it up to code. The rebates came to $1,450.

Elephant Energy handled all of the paperwork for the rebates and made the whole process much easier than his previous renovations.

“They know what they’re talking about which is really critical,” he said. “They made the whole thing super easy from being really responsive with all the questions up front to the actual delivery of the project itself to the rebates.”

To learn more about heat pump water heaters and how we can help you tackle even more complex energy efficiency upgrades, read about our solutions or get in touch.

“It was definitely one of the best contractor experiences I’ve ever had and I’ve had plenty,” he said.