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home >Heat pump

Heat Pump
My home was built in 2000 and was designed to be heated with propane and a large wood stove in the basement.  I'm fine with using wood since it is essentially a renewable resource here in Maine, and I fire up the stove anytime the temperatures drop below 20F which is for several months in the winter.  This offsets my need to use the fossil fuel propane and keeps my costs and environmental impact low. 
Mr Cool
Several years ago I got estimates to have a heat pump installed for the 700 sq.ft. ground floor of the house which currently has a large Rinnai propane heater.  The estimates came in at around $4500 which was not affordable for me at that time.  Then a company called Mr Cool came along with a line of DIY installable heat pumps at a much lower price.  When I got a $1400 stimulus payment from the government, I used it as an opportunity to jump in and reduce my fossil fuel footprint.  I got a very good price on the 23,000 BTU heat pump from Lowe's of about $1600 and spent about another $200 on parts for wiring etc.  This is a huge cost savings, and since I have the skills to do all the installation, it was a no-brainer for me.  I particularly like that this unit is also an air conditioner and dehumidifier.  For several weeks in July and August the heat and humidity here becomes unbearable for this genetically British guy!  My brain literally shuts down when temperatures get  above 85F  and it's humid.  It will be a real blessing to be Cool.
Heat pump vs Rinnai proane monitor
 It took me about seven hours to install, but that does not include many hours of research and watching YouTube videos of other people installing these units.  The time-lapse video below condenses that seven hours into a couple of minutes so you can see all the steps involved.  It was a long tiring day!
Below are views of the condenser mounted outside my basement door, and the air handler in the living room.
Mr Cool outside condenser unit Mr Cool interior air handler
In addition to a very useful remote control, there is also a phone app that allows full control of the unit from the phone and also Alexa and other voice assistants.  Using the app I have already programmed scheduled settings for different temperatures for day and night time etc.  The app also shows hours of use and logs any time a setting has been changed.  Lots of very useful stuff here!
I'm sure that my electric bill will go up in the winter, but this is okay with me because I will be using much less propane.  The thing is that propane costs are unregulated and the price per gallon can vary dramatically throughout any given heating season.  However, electric utility rates are controlled by the Public Utility Commission so they are much more stable and predictable.  Of course much of my electric supply comes from my solar panels, and what I acquire through the utility is entirely sourced from solar - I have subscribed to a solar farm for the energy that I get from the utility.  I only use utility electricity in the winter when solar input is low.  For six or seven months from spring through early fall my solar panels generate more power than I need and that energy is banked with the utility as a credit to be used in the late fall.

The bottom line for me is that I am reducing my carbon footprint as much as practical.  Every time I do a project like this I think about future generations.  Even though I don't have kids, I look around at young people today and realize the world that they will be living in is changing so dramatically due to the climate crisis that their lives will be profoundly impacted by the time they are my age.  Hundreds of thousands of people are dying every year due to direct and indirect effects of the climate crisis.  If we don't all wake up and reduce our fossil fuel consumption, the planet could become completely uninhabitable for humans within a few hundred years.