Back to Chelan County PUD's main website »

Posts Tagged ‘heat pump’

‘E’ is for emergencies

Posted in Energy conservation, Heating and cooling on December 2nd, 2015 by Susan – Be the first to comment

PrintChanging to ‘e heat’ on your heat pump thermostat will reduce energy savings

Every winter we talk to customers with heat pumps who switch their settings to “e heat,” “EM heat” or “auxiliary heat” at the first sign of frost. If you want to take advantage of the energy-efficiency of a heat pump, making that switch may be a bad idea.

A heat pump draws heat from outside air. When temperatures drop, a heat pump draws less heat inside. Eventually it can’t provide all the heat needed and supplemental heat from your furnace kicks in.

Caucasian lady pressing modern thermostatThat furnace heat — called electric resistance — is 100 percent efficient. But heat pump heat is 200 to 300 percent efficient. If you switch your thermostat to the e-heat setting you’re shutting off the heat pump and relying entirely on the furnace. Which means you’re surrendering potential energy savings.

As energy expert Dr. Allison Bailes states, if you want to save on your electric bill, keep the thermostat at the “Heat” setting. Save the emergency setting for a real emergency, such as when your faithful old heat pump quits working.

***

 Energy Vanguard article: ‘How NOT to use your heat pump thermostat’

 All about air source heat pumps

Thanks for saving energy

Posted in Appliances, Energy conservation, Heating and cooling, Lighting on January 28th, 2015 by Susan – Be the first to comment

PrintPopular programs help PUD exceed conservation goal by 40 percent

Here’s a hearty pat on the back to our customers: Chelan County residents taking advantage of energy-efficiency programs saved 13,052,400 kilowatt hours of energy last year – enough to power about 504 local homes.

The savings helped Chelan County PUD surpass its mandated 2014 conservation target by 40 percent and meet a “stretch” goal of 1.49 average megawatts of savings.

Photo of clothes washers

Rebates on energy-efficient clothes washers continue through 2015.

Some 1,490 residents took advantage of programs to save energy and money including rebates on appliances, windows, insulation, ductless heat pumps and air source heat pumps; duct sealing for manufactured homes; and refrigerator/freezer recycling. Thirty-one businesses installed energy-efficiency improvements with help from the PUD.

Rebates and services continue through 2015; check out the many options.

Saving energy is a winning proposition for everyone. Customers save money with lower electric bills, reduce energy waste and in many cases, improve the comfort of their homes. When customers save energy, more power is available to sell at wholesale rates on the open market; those revenues help keep local retail rates low. Customers also help the PUD meet state-mandated targets under the Energy Independence Act.

Thanks for saving energy!

Posted in Appliances, Energy conservation, Heating and cooling, Lighting on August 6th, 2014 by Susan – Be the first to comment

Lightly logoConservation efforts pay off for all customers

Hats off to Chelan County PUD customers, who helped the PUD reach half of a two-year conservation goal in just six months.

Andrew Grassell, Energy Development and Conservation manager, said there has been great response by customers to the rebates offered by Chelan PUD on energy efficient appliances, heat pumps, windows, insulation and LED lighting.

Photo of Kent and Annie Chalmers

Kent and Annie Chalmers of Cashmere are enjoying the benefits of adding insulation through Chelan PUD’s rebate program.

Under the state’s Energy Independence Act, the two-year target for the PUD is 2.08 average megawatts (aMW). By the end of June, the PUD had achieved 1.18 aMW – well above the 1.08 aMW target for all of 2014. The savings so far this year are enough to power about 400 Chelan County homes.

The Conservation group takes the energy-saving targets as a minimum, Grassell said, and will continue to offer programs that appeal to customers. Rebates on refrigerators, clothes washers and LED retrofit kits, along with window and insulation incentives, are the most popular.

Industrial customers also are actively participating, installing lighting, cold storage and other energy-saving upgrades with help from the PUD.

Grassell noted that savings extend beyond program participants. All customers benefit because energy that is saved is sold on the wholesale market, helping to support low, stable electric rates. The local economy is supported, too, through the purchase of products and services in our communities.

 

Cool savings on heat pumps

Posted in Appliances, Energy conservation, Heating and cooling on June 25th, 2014 by Susan – Be the first to comment

PrintChelan County PUD is offering rebates of $500 and $1,400 to customers who install high-efficiency air-source heat pumps.

Photo of chicken atop heat pump

Saving energy is no joke: Upgrade or convert to a high-efficiency heat pump and get a rebate of $500 or $1,400.

Customers who upgrade existing heat pumps are eligible for the $500 rebate. Heat pump upgrades include replacing an existing heat pump, replacing the heat pump portion of a ground source heat pump system, upgrading from zonal (wall and baseboard heaters) to an air-source heat pump, or adding a heat pump to a system with gas back-up.

Customers who convert from an electric forced-air furnace to a high-efficiency air-source heat pump are eligible for a $1,400 rebate.

In both cases, the new heat pumps must have a minimum 9.0 HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) and 14 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio).

HSPF is a measure of heating efficiency while SEER is a measure of cooling efficiency. In general, the higher the SEER, the higher efficiency — and cost. However, the energy savings can return the higher initial investment several times during the heat pump’s life. The most efficient heat pumps have SEERs of between 14 and 18.

Before making a purchase, ask your contractor whether the equipment you’re contemplating meets the rebate requirements. A list of licensed and bonded contractors serving Chelan County is available on the PUD website.

Eligible heat pumps can be found by searching the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute’s website and the ENERGY STAR website for Air Source Heat Pumps. Eligible heat pumps can be found by searching the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute’s website and the ENERGY STAR website for Air Source Heat Pump

Read a brief overview of the rebate program, then apply for the heat pump rebate here.

The Department of Energy offers a detailed explanation of heat pumps on its website.

I spy wasted energy

Posted in Appliances, Construction, Electronics, Energy conservation, Heating and cooling, Lighting, Recycling on May 28th, 2014 by Susan – Be the first to comment

PrintHome energy audits can help detect air leaks and other issues

If you don’t like people nosing around your house, don’t invite Greg Jourdan in. He opens closet doors, lets the water run in the bathroom sink, feels around your windows, switches lights on and off and even points a gun, albeit an energy-friendly “thermal gun.”

Photo of home energy audit - Greg Jourdan and John Eder

Greg Jourdan shows homeowner John Eder how a thermal imaging camera finds cold spots in his home.

It’s all for a good cause. Greg Jourdan, an energy consultant and Wenatchee Valley College instructor, navigates through local homes upon request to sleuth out wasted energy. He starts by using diagnostic equipment, including a gun-shaped thermal imaging camera, to identify places where energy is being lost. He supplements his investigation with a big blower fan that he sets up in an exterior entry door to create a large negative air vacuum in the home, to find the air leaks. Then he does a complete walk-through, looking at a home’s insulation, windows, ductwork, heating and cooling, lighting, electronics and appliances. To finish, he issues a report that includes recommendations on how homeowners can make improvements.

John and Linda Eder welcomed Jourdan into their home earlier this month. The Sunnyslope couple won Chelan PUD’s drawing for a free home energy audit at the KPQ Home and Garden Show this spring.

Although it’s 26 years old, their home rated high on Jourdan’s scale of efficiency. The Eders have upgraded to vinyl-framed windows and have adequate insulation. They’ve replaced the incandescent bulbs in their recessed fixtures with LEDs, taking advantage of Chelan PUD’s rebates. They use a heat pump for heating and cooling, and just had it serviced.

Photo of Greg Jourdan with blower door

This fabric door and fan create negative pressure in the house to help measure air leaks.

The Eders use more electricity than might be expected because they heat and cool John’s workshop, bringing their total conditioned space to 3,600 square foot. But on a watts-per-square-foot basis, their energy use is relatively low.

Jourdan did make some general recommendations which apply to most homes, including:

• Set the thermostat  for cooling as high as possible while maintaining reasonable comfort levels while home. Set it to 84 degrees when away from home, or install a programmable thermostat to do that automatically.

• Conversely, place thermostat settings for heating as low as possible while maintaining reasonable comfort levels. Set it to 60 degrees when away, or install a programmable thermostat. (Note: If you have a heat pump, make sure you install a “smart” thermostat that will warm the house back up gradually and minimize the use of inefficient strip heat.)

• Replace air filters every two to three months or as needed to keep the indoor unit coil clean.

• Reduce the temperature setting on the water heater to 120 degrees or less.

• Install low-flow showerheads in bathrooms.

• Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible.

• Minimize use of spare refrigerators and freezers. If not needed, consider recycling through Chelan PUD’s free recycling and rebate program.

You can perform your own energy audit by following this checklist. Learn about professional home energy audits here. Jourdan can be reached at gjourdan@msn.com.