E is for Electric

I’ve been in the process of looking into “electrifying” my home. It’s part of the process of moving away from a dependence on fossil fuels, and increasing the efficiency of power requiring appliances.

I’ve been following heat pump development for years (thanks, This Old House) and finally, the above ground versions have become quite functional in very cold weather, making such a thing feasible in my climate. It’s no longer on the cusp, the heat pumps can work without a backup heat source. People in my area who have heat pumps did fine during our very cold (-15F, -28C) weather in December and January. Another reason I’m looking now is the move of the main bedroom to the main floor of our home. I’ve not had air conditioning, but have cooled with an evaporative cooler since I’ve owned my home. Our former bedroom was right next to the cooler input, and with a few windows cracked open, one could sleep comfortably. With water shortages becoming more prevalent here in the west, I’m also thinking differently about using water for evaporative cooling.

With the downstairs bedroom father from the cold air inlet, it remains possible to cool with the swamp cooler, but it will be less efficient. In addition, the new bedroom space started its life holding a hot tub, so there are a lot of windows, which although low-E and double paned, still allows a lot of solar heat gain through both the south and west exposures. Even now, in early spring, that room warms up a lot on sunny days. In the summer, it’s going to be toasty. So, I’m looking at heat pumps. They work by exchanging cool for warm air, and can move the air either direction–warmed air into the house in winter, out of the house in summer. They are considerably more energy efficient than conventional air conditioners and furnaces. Prices aren’t cheap, but they are coming down, and there are rebates and tax breaks available.

Yesterday, the third of the three companies I’ve contacted did their evaluation. One company is a conventional heating/AC company, the other two take a more comprehensive approach to electrification, providing more of a one stop shop, so that solar can be installed (I already have that) as well as heat pumps, electric water heaters, electrical vehicle chargers, hookups for induction stoves, etc, etc. They essentially function as general contractors for the projects and can do assessments and provide guidance for the process, as well as assist in decision making–what projects in what order, and what can reasonably wait for another time. Once the last proposal and bid arrives, I’ll make a decision on what to do. Both of the vendors I’m seriously considering have assured me that I can have things installed in time for “cooling season”.

It’s exciting and interesting to see what is now available and I’m happy to be making the change. It feels like the time is right to be doing this, and as the same health issues that necessitated the downstairs bedroom are also keeping BA and I from doing significant travel, there’s room in the budget. Might was well make things comfortable and more energy efficient!

Written for E in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge and the Ragtag daily prompt of cusp

12 thoughts on “E is for Electric

  1. Good for you! I don’t know what I’d do during Texas summers without AC. I might be able to survive the winter without heat (I have lots of sweaters and blankets that see only a couple of weeks’ use, at best, each year). But I would DIE without good AC.

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      1. I could never live in the oven that is Phoenix! 7 seconds in a jetway at the airport while airplane tires melted on the runway convinced me of that one. It’s not that bad in Houston. It’s humid, but I breathe better at 100 degrees and 80% humidity than I do in the “dry heat” of a 122 degree OVEN.

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  2. I had a heat pump in Sacramento, which is very hot in summer, and chilly in winter (but not snowy cold). I loved it, and definitely would consider it here for my 2-story home which is hot upstairs in the summer and cold downstairs in winter1

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  3. My parents had a heat pump, and I was always cold. The a/c part of it worked fine, though. It was a looooooong time ago, so hopefully, they have improved since then!

    Liked by 1 person

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