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Energy Saving Made Easy: Consider an Air Source Heat Pump

May 25, 2022

This summer, Stearns Electric Association is once again offering enhanced rebates for members who install new Air Source Heat Pumps. But what exactly is an Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) and is it the right choice for your home?

WHAT IS AN AIR SOURCE HEAT PUMP?
An ASHP is an electric-powered unit that provides home cooling and supplemental heating. In Minnesota, ASHPs most commonly replace a standard air conditioning unit.

HOW DOES IT WORK?
ASHPs extract the existing heat from inside your home and pump it outside, keeping your home cool.

Heat pumps work on the same principles as a refrigerator. Just as a refrigerator pulls heat from the air inside and pumps it out the back, hence the warm coils behind your fridge, a heat pump does the same, pumping heat from the indoor air outside.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
The real benefit to installing an ASHP occurs in the colder months. Unlike a standard air conditioning unit, a heat pump can work in reverse to help heat your home.

An ASHP can reduce your home’s electricity use for heating by approximately 50%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Even when air temperatures are low, the heat pump harvests hidden heat in the air outside and transfers it into your home, which means you can run your furnace less. In fact, with an ASHP, you may not need to run your furnace at all during the spring and fall.

WHAT ABOUT THOSE REALLY COLD WINTER MONTHS?
ASHP technology has advanced in recent years and today’s cold-climate heat pump technology can operate efficiently below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Plus, when you install an ASHP, you’ll have a backup heating system that will automatically kick-in when your ASHP cannot keep up, or when your equipment is being controlled through our EnergyWise® programs.

ARE THERE ANY REBATES AVAILABLE?
The Cooperative offers year-round rebates to members who install an ASHP. But, through June 30, 2022, members can earn even more! Up to $2,000 is available in rebates when members install a qualifying, energy-saving ASHP and enroll in our EnergyWise® programs for the first time. You can learn more about this promotion on the front page of the newsletter.

Additionally, when you install an ASHP and enroll it in Stearns Electric’s EnergyWise® Cycled AC and Dual Fuel programs, you pay nearly half the standard rate for electricity 12 months out of the year.

SO, WHAT IS THE BOTTOM LINE?
It all comes down to the fuel source you have – natural gas, fuel oil or propane. During the cooling season, ASHPs will save you energy and money. During the heating season, ASHPs remain competitive with natural gas units, but substantial savings are available for members who use propane or fuel oil to heat their homes.

IS AN ASHP FOR ME?
Installing an ASHP is extremely easy in the construction of a new home. If you are building a new home, or thinking about building, contact your heating and cooling, and electrical contractor to discuss your options.

If you are looking to replace your aging central air conditioner or inefficient heating system, an ASHP might be the right fit for you. Every house is unique though and a homeowner needs to understand the features of their home in order for their heating and cooling systems to be most efficient and comfortable. Therefore, we encourage you to work with a knowledgeable contractor to figure out what is best for your home.

For a list of preferred contractors we work with, please contact our member service department. This list is also available on our website.

Visit our website or call our office to learn more.

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