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First Heat Pump System Installed!

As we’ve discussed in the past, a Heat Pump system is a critical technology for fighting climate-change. They provide heating AND cooling, electrically, at much higher efficiencies than traditional ways to heat and cool. They’re awesome! And so we installed our first one – in snowy Boulder, CO – to learn deeply about how to help homeowners #ElectrifyEverything and fight climate change.

We wrote a Twitter thread 🧵 on them – check it out and give it a share!

First Heat Pump System Installed - Elephant Energy

Key Learnings:

#1 Super important to work with the customer to understand their goals:

  1. Reduce fossil fuel use for heating

  2. Improve home energy comfort in the 3rd floor nook office (subject to very uneven heating and cooling)

  3. Work with a partner who could manage the whole process turnkey

#2 Sizing the unit properly is ESSENTIAL

We had a home performance company do a blower door test and run manual J calcs to determine load calcs.  THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT to a successful outcome.

#3 You never know what you’re going to find in a previous install 🙂

Demolition time!  When we removed the PVC flue vents, we found an old wasps nest! Fortunately, no wasps were harmed as the nest looked long-abandoned.  Things got a bit dirty.

#4 Contractor selection matters!

While the heat pump system was installed according to the spec, the contractor didn’t pay attention to the details we think are important for delivering an A+ customer experience: i.e they left some of the insulation uninstalled and didn’t use mats on our hardwood floors.

#5 Systems and Design thinking is critical

Several electricians recommended the simplest / easiest solution for a specific goal (i.e. get 240V of power to the Air Handler). They didn’t think to re-use existing wiring nor did they discuss what else we might electrify in the home (induction stove and heat pump water heater are next!). Approaching the design based on long-term goals is important for the best, cost-effective long-term outcome.

#6 Heat pump technology really works!

So far, it’s been awesome and borderline magical! The customer has been super excited about the comfort delivered by the heat pump system. The fan is quiet and runs for more time, distributing heating more evenly throughout the home. Fewer cold spots so far this winter!

#7 Combustion is smelly.

Customer has noticed that the smells that came out of the vents when the heat kicked on are now gone! They thought it was just a “feature” of the house. Apparently it’s a “bug” caused by burning natural gas.

#8 Rebates matter.

Not all contractors are approved installers under various incentive programs from the electric utility and city/county.  The list of contractors who are approved for both Xcel AND Boulder incentives is ~5. We left some money on the table with Xcel incentives.  Do your research before selecting a technology and contractor partner!

#9 Top take-away?

There is a LOT of opportunity to make this simpler, easier, lower cost for the consumer, all while helping them reduce their impact on the environment and making their homes more comfortable and cozy. This is the first, very meaningful, step in #HomeElectrification. For other homeowners, it might be an EV charger, water heater, or induction oven.

We’re super excited to help homeowners upgrade their homes with the latest, energy-efficient technology to help them on their Climate Journey.

If you want to learn more about electrifying your home, contact us and get in touch!