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Jay Stein's picture
Senior Fellow Emeritus, E Source

Jay Stein, a Senior Fellow Emeritus affiliated with E Source, is one of America's leading energy technologists. Over the course of his over 40-year career he has played numerous roles, including...

  • Member since 2006
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  • Dec 1, 2022

An opportunity to install a heat pump is a terrible thing to waste. Check out my latest article to learn how encouraging homeowners replacing air conditioners to install heat pumps instead could be an inexpensive way to reduce heating bills and climate emissions, and accelerate electrification.

Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on Dec 2, 2022

Heat Pumps are very efficient and work great. The only problem is in extreme cold. They they have to use resistive heating strips.  If we could improve that issue with radiant or lazer type heating it would be perfect. Also I have had Heat Pumps for years and the only thing that seems to fail ir the capcitor for help start the compressor. They should come up with a Super Capacitor or like item that holds up forever. 

Jay Stein's picture
Jay Stein on Dec 5, 2022

Thanks, Jim, for your comments here. Heat pump performance does degrade as outdoor temperatures drop, although there are many cold climate models on the market that operate well down to 5℉, or colder. That said, as you noted, many heat pump installations do require some form of backup heat at low temperatures.

In my post linked to above, I encouraged readers to simply replace their air conditioners with identically sized heat pumps, and leave their existing heating systems in place for backup. Such systems will probably switch to backup well before ambient temperatures drop to those extremely cold temperatures. If their existing heating systems are based on electric resistance, then they would use that for backup heat, as you do. Other heating systems might well be based on a different fuel, such as natural gas, which in such cases would provide backup.

Again, thanks for weighing in here. Hopefully someone from an HVAC manufacturer is reading our exchange, and takes your advice regarding capacitors.

Jay Stein's picture
Thank Jay for the Post!
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