Heat pump headaches

“If we were relying on these units for heat (thank God we were not) we would have been out in the cold!”

Efficiency Vermont photo

By James Hall

Back in 2018, we contracted for a heat pump installation in our two story home.

The installation took place in Aug of 2018, and was during a heat wave so initial use was for cooling which worked pretty well in the early stages of use.

But as time went on we found there were a lot of issues that were caused from lack of oversight from Efficiency Vermont (EVT). One example was a unit being installed in a small room that was grossly oversized. We found this out after a few days of use, and ultimately reverted to the window air unit which was the appropriate sized appliance for that room. Outdoor units were placed directly on the ground, with no buffer between the ground and the unit. I complained about this during installation was informed we had to pay extra for stands. Who in their right minds would do something like that in Vermont knowing that snow and ice would build up?

Then one of our outdoor units failed to work and the original installer was unavailable to work on the unit. EVT either could not or for some reason did not provide us with an up to date list of contractors when needed. We wasted a fair amount of time going this route and ultimately just did it on our own. It took us two years to finally find someone to get us back into operational mode. 

It seems these contractors were overwhelmed with work and would not readily providing service unless they sold and installed the unit. We did find a plumping and heating business who agreed to get our units back into service…. two years later. If we were relying on these units for heat (thank God we were not) we would have been out in the cold!

So we totally disconnected the head units upstairs, and concentrated on the remaining kitchen/lower level which is powered by an oversized outdoor unit capable of handling 3 indoor units; when only one is in use. Again, all of this oversizing was due to a lack of oversight by EVT. Your tax dollars fund this group, you tell me if we got our money’s worth.

Republished from Campaign for Vermont

Categories: Commentary

11 replies »

  1. Have ya figured out yet that the want everyone dead and dependant on them. Communism

  2. Wood stove works even when the power’s out. When they come for the wood stoves, and they will, you know it’s also time to pluck the chickens and heat the tar.

  3. In Vermont – redundancy is achieved by fixing what isn’t broken… woodstoves work better with radiant heat, and work as long as there is wood…and…we got plenty of that…the fascist way though… the fascist tyrannical way…

  4. And what lobbyists got these laws and funding passed? All about crony capitalism, brother to socialism

  5. How many people realize Efficiency Vermont takes out advertising for TV programs? We are forced to pay a charge on our electric bill to support this organization.

    • …and they lie in their promotional materials that heat pumps are 3 times more efficient then furnaces/boilers.

  6. Escept Efficiency Vermont doesn’t provide project management or oversight. They maintain a list of contractors and in this case, sounds like the one you willingly contracted with didn’t do a correct load calculation. If you didn’t want to pay extra for the stands that is on you but don’t complain companies aren’t providing you free products.

    This is not Efficiency Vermont’s fault or the fault of heat pump technology. And after doing a bad install, you still wanted to use the original contractor? This story makes no sense other than to serve up red meat for all the anti-heat pump “conservatives” .

    • That’s what I was thinking when I read the article, when I called them they just have a list of approved contractors that you have to go through in order to get their rebates. Sounds like they have a bad contractor, and yes you need a stand for it to operate efficiently.

      What I will say is that heat pumps are pretty efficient but they do break down more than other hvac sources in my experience. The refrigerant always seems to become low randomly no matter if it’s serviced regularly or not. These are commercial installs from different vendors and different manufacturers so it’s not just one model or one installer. It’s unfortunate because as that refrigerant gets low the efficiency drops rather quickly and it can burn up a ton more energy than it saves when it happens.

    • Efficiency VT Field Rep did come and inspect the installation. He was not pleased. But nothing more happened. In the list of contractors they provided, they did NOT indicate which make of equipment the dealers handled. We were left to determine this on our own….. more time consuming. So before you go blowing E V’s horn, it might be well to read the rest of the story; there usually is one.

  7. Unless they have made major changes in heat pump technology. You would never want to heat your house with it. They were used in the south for the main reason that they never have to work in weather colder than 10 degrees, which in NE/Northern USA is common. You don’t commonly see new construction in any northern state using heat pumps as there primary source of heat.

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