Tell me about your experiences with your heat pump

This is the key factor. If you’re talking through the wall and your place gets below 20 degrees then you need to make sure it has a secondary heat source. Electric most likely if it’s a through the wall style.

I personally would prefer an outdoor AC with an indoor Air handler that could have propane or natural gas assist.

Outside of all that, I think heat pumps are well worth it.


Just read the thread lol. A bit late on input but I hope you like it. I think they’re worth it


@BrianK. Your not gonna hear the mini split outdoor unit running unless you pretty much go outside and try to listen for it. Sooo much quieter than a conventional split system. Though a lot of the new outdoor units today are coming with variable speed compressors and fan motors which make them much quieter as well. But the minis have always been quiet as long as I’ve known about the mini.


It was already stated. Heat pumps don’t work. They are an air conditioning unit. And A/C removes the heat. The system is just working in reverse, and it is cold outside. What heat are you removing from the outside when it is freezing cold out? When it is 45 and there is a chill? Sure.


Yes, very quiet Machgunner. The only time I can hear the outside unit is when I put it in “powerful” mode. Then I can hear the hum of the compressor through the wall that it’s mounted on. Outside I only hear air movement. So far we really like it alot but have only used the a/c and the dry modes extensively. I’ll know more this winter. But I intend to fill our oil tank as the back up to our backups, and the wood racks because we really like wood heat, and the visible fire, when it gets really cold, below 20°F and if it stays there for awhile. Wood heat isn’t something entered into for just a few hours, or at least I don’t. When I light the wood stove I intend to use it for days or longer.

Nick, it’s too late for horror stories. The heat pumps are installed for better or worse. I’ll find out for myself what’s what in the cold weather in 4 more months. But as mentioned above they aren’t our only source of heat. Everything we used for decades is still in place and working fine. But Efficiency Maine gives them their seal of approval for our winter and paid us to have them installed to save us $ and energy. It’s said that they get inefficient at -5°F but are usable down to -20. But our plan is to not use the heat pumps before that temp’ is reached. But again, I intend to find out since we already have them. FWIW, in theory there is heat available until one reaches 0°Kelvin (-273C). The trick is to collect it for use. That technology we don’t have in a heating unit. :smiley:

Frankly heat pumps are beyond my understanding and at some point I need to trust the folks who know more than I do. Which is what we did.

I’ll revisit this after we start to get our electric bills, next month will be the first, and after I have some winter experience. But the fans appear to be low draw and the heat exchanger outside has an incredibly fine and complex fin network to maximize efficiency from the air movement that is induced by the fan.

Machgunner, question for you… should I hose out the fins once in awhile to remove dust and such for good heat transfer? Or is it hands off?


@BrianK yeah man. I would 2 times a year if I were you. Once in the spring. Another in the fall. Just water only and don’t use any kind of pressure. If your comfortable with it. Take the cover off and get to the I side where you can get the hose on the inside of the coil and let the water run through the fins from inside out. Don’t use a sprayer or anything like that. Just use the open hose. You don’t have to do all that. But yeah. Can never hurt to hose those fins off. Especially if you do that consistently. Hopefully it should never get gunked up bad enough to ever need a “professional “ cleaning. Most people never even think about doing something like that. They just call a service company complaining the unit isn’t working and the company goes out to find the condenser is dirty from 10 years of someone cutting grass and blowing the dirt and grass clippings directly into the ac unit while the fan is running which in turn sucks in all that dirt and grass like a vacuum. Lol. Minis aren’t near as bad though. Their fans don’t run anywhere near as fast as a conventional unit. Just spray it off twice a year. You’ll be good to go.


We had our first “problem” with both heat pumps yesterday. It turns out that it was an education problem. We had a power outage and got mega error messages from the blinking lights on both units after the power came back on.

I tried what I could to reset them but nothing worked. I went online to get the CS center, but their 24/7 service was closed for the weekend. (In whose mind is a 24/7 service center ever closed?) And due to the holiday I didn’t even bother to call our installer.

Thankfully it was cool enough so that we could live with not having them running. I’d been running them in “dry” mode just to dehumidify.

So we were without them over the night and for all the waking hours I wondered where the reset was on the units but I wasn’t going to open anything up to peer inside. If it was in the manual I missed it. It turns out that I was on the right track when I flipped the breakers off. I just didn’t wait long enough. The woman I talked to at the local installer suggested I go out to the tiny fuse box next to each unit and pull the fuses. After waiting a few minutes I put them back in and they work fine now. Next time I try flipping the breakers inside to see if that works, but the voice over the phone told me that pulling the fuses has never failed. I don’t see the attraction of going outside at zero dark 30 in mid February when we have 3’ of snow and ice to dig through to get to them though. Indoor breakers are much easier to access.

I inquired and was told that it’s a defense mechanism that’s built into the units that prevents damage. OK, now I know. If they’re running during a power outage they protect themselves from a power surge by shutting down and requiring a reset. I think I’ll just shut off the breakers to them until the power comes back on next time. And it will happen again where we live.




Still loving them. The neighbor stopped by to ask how we liked them. What’s not to like? So far only mostly A/C use and that is wonderful. Of course the wood stove is heat and not A/C, but I compare it to that. Wood heat is constant with no constant up and down. The A/C from the heat pump is the same. No up and down, just constant comfort. We keep it set to 76° and it’s just nicely comfortable. No noise at all. Unless you walk past the air stream and put your hand up into it you don’t even know it’s running. Outside the same thing. Just quiet, but test the air from the outside part (condenser?) and it can be felt and the water coming out of the drain pipe (from the inside unit) can be seen.

We did have a day or 2 where we needed heat for the entire time. Set to 72° it worked exactly the same way as the woodstove, just not with snow blowing and below 20°. Constant and unnoticeable warmth inside, and the unit outside was discharging colder air. But it wasn’t a real test of the heating system. I checked the outputs of the units and the bigger of the 2 has a BTU heat rating of almost 19k. Cooling is 14k. The smaller unit for the bedroom has a cooling BTU rate of 9k and I can’t remember the heating BTUs, but it’s higher than the cooling, similar increase as with the larger unit. Why so small? Our home is small.

I’m almost looking forward to one day of winter to test the units in that mode and in real cold.

In a few days we’ll get our first electric bill from a meter reading. Very interested in that.

Still haven’t seen anyone to give us our rebate check yet, that will take time.


So we had a very uncomfortable summer and the heat pump in A/C mode worked like a champ. Unlike window rattler units it was quiet and just there, but unnoticeable except for the constant comfort.

I haven’t really taxed it yet with extreme cold but last night it got down to 35°F and frost was on the roofs. I left the HP on but set to 64° for the night. When I got up at 0600 it was 68° in our home. I put the temp up to 72 and typical for the unit(s) it did what it was supposed to do without drawing lots of attention to itself. From “off” it appears to take longer than the oil heat to start to heat things up. That’s a consideration now, but when its cold 24/7 they will be on all the time and that lag should disappear. But lighting the wood stove, which is what we use when it get really cold, can take much longer to start putting out usable heat. Each system has it’s characteristics.

In years past I would back myself up to a hot air register that come out of the floor, and let the forced hot air inflate my untucked shirt for instant warming. Those days are over at least when using the HP, like this morning. But I can stand in front of the discharge from the HP and that’s warm. The wood stove I can back up to and get warm with the radiant heat. Just back away or turn around to the other side before the clothes burst into flames.

edit: So far we’re liking the units alot.


We’ve had exceptional early cold weather recently, probably due to global warming. We haven’t used anything other than the heat pumps and it has gotten down to 15°F.

The manual states not to turn them off. That makes sense since our bigger unit is still less than 20k BTU in heat mode. I’d been turning them down and that worked fine at warmer outdoor temps, it just takes time for the unit(s) to warm things up. Face it, it’s not the 80k (or whatever it is) oil fired furnace. Last night it was supposed to get down into the teens and maybe it did after I fell asleep. When I went to bed it was 22° and the units were working fine. I kept the big unit set to 74° and turned down the one in the bedroom. That worked fine and obviously there was no warm up required to get the living area up to temp’.

This time of year the outside humidity is near the dew point for a lot of the time and the outside units will collect frost since the coils are colder than the air. The outside units go into auto defrost mode to melt it off the coils and fins. It’s seamless and mostly transparent. If one catches the inside unit “doing it’s thing” it’s noticeable, but other than that, it just takes care of it without our intervention. After the auto defrost mode it goes back to heating.

It’s not central heat so our entire home is not heated directly by them. Of course with open doors and air movers we can put the warmer air into those spaces. That’s the same as with wood heat which we have used when the temp’ dips below 20° and stays there.

We haven’t gotten an electric bill yet that reflects the use of the heat pumps, but we also filled our oil tank just in case. But so far the heat pumps are doing exactly the job that the oil burner would be doing (hopefully costing less than oil). Of course we still have the option of lighting the wood stove. But none of that means that I’m not going to test the units out when it gets even colder. I’ve talked to folks who’ve had them for a time and they use them for their sole heat source and it gets very cold here (Maine).

So far this is working out. One just needs to keep in mind the differences… it’s not central heat, it also isn’t a honkin’ huge BTU heating system. It’s designed to run 24/7. Now I want to see an electric bill. We’ve been told by users that basically it’s heat for $1/day. If so that’s much less than oil or burning purchased wood.


Last night it got down to 15°F and that experience twice told me that either our heat pump isn’t big enough to handle the space or it has reached it’s limit of outside cold. I consider it good down to maybe 18°. Below that we’ll need to switch to a different heat source. In the past it’s been wood since it heats so nicely below 20°. Like the heat pumps it’s a constant heat without the up and down (on/off) swings of a thermostat controlled heat.

It’s just amazing how it can pull heat out of really cold air.

Unless we get a huge electric bill I’m considering this thread done on my end.


OK, I admit it I was wrong in the previous post! Dead wrong!

The problems we were experiencing with the heat pumps was one of learning curve.

The biggest problem I was having with the heat pumps when it got cold was the fact that even with the thermostat set to 74° when I woke up it was colder than that when I got up and it had a hard time getting us up to temp’. But the manual refers to stratification of the heat and that got me to thinking, always a dangerous thing for me.

During the day we would run the ceiling fan and during the day we had no problems with the heat pumps after the inside managed to come up to temp’. At night I would turn the ceiling fan off. I conjectured that the stratification wasn’t happening during the day, but at night the heat at the ceiling was satisfying the units thermostat leaving where I live, walking on the floor, in the cold. Note that the heat pumps are supposed to remain running. So to test this I touched nothing and just went to bed. In the AM everything was up to temp’ just like it was during the day, even with the cold of night. Too, since it’s not central heat and the heat produced by the HP in the living room/kitchen has to carry most of the entire home I set the thermostat even higher on those cold days. Now the unit works fine in the really cold weather. Nothing changed with the heat pump, what changed was figuring out what was going on and working with it.

We did get our electirc bill and the wife hit the roof. It was high, or higher than normal. She is going to call the utility even though I tried to bring her back from that. She just doesn’t understand. All she can see is the bill. I expected the HPs to cost us somewhere near $1-$2 per day to heat our home and that’s exactly what they are costing us. But instead of paying a massive bill for oil 1-2x a winter she’s seeing it every month now and comparing the monthly elec’ bill to when we didn’t use the HPs for heat. Of course higher bills are to be expected. For her it isn’t computing that we’ve burned no oil at 80% efficiency and instead are using electricity at 300-400% efficiency, all she can see is the monthly bill.

Last year we burned approx’ 500 gallons of oil and approx’ $200 worth of wood. Maybe $1k for the heating season total. Those expenses were paid out in 3 large bills. Much of the wood we bought remains. This year we’re on track to have increased electric bills and if we burn no oil or wood spend maybe at most $420. But she only sees the increased electric bill. She doesn’t see having no bill for not using the other heat sources so that savings doesn’t factor into it for her. This time last year I’d be monitoring the level in the oil tank to figure out if we needed a refill. This year we haven’t used any oil at all, or wood. I see that but she doesn’t and won’t listen to it. She’s blaming the electric company since we had a problem with their billing in the past.

So that’s where we are with the heat pumps. Lots of user error and learning curve, but the heat pumps are working fine.

Due to our high humidity during this season of changing weather the outside coils ice up and the units go into auto self defrost mode, but it’s all done automatically and mostly unnoticed, except I look for it to learn better how they work. The other day we had near freezing temps wit rain and they defrosted a number of times. Last night it was in the high 20s with fog and again they defrosted a number of times. I expected it and they didn’t disappoint. The heat gets pumped into our home which means the outside coils get colder than the outside air, so yes, they will ice up under the right conditions. They didn’t ice up when it got really cold since the air just can’t hold humidity at those temps.


I was sorta hoping for some fairly cold weather this winter and last night was exactly that. When I got up it was -9.8°F. We had the wood stove going all day yesterday and when I went to sleep I put on a few sticks of wood, but they were used up hours before and all that was left were a pile of coals. The stove was warm to the touch and wasn’t giving meaningful heat. But before going to bed I also turned the heat pump on in the living area. The HP in the bedroom had run all day. When I arose both HPs were happily heating our home and again that was with an outside temp of -10. The way these things work is just amazing.

Since the woodstove puts out soooo many more BTUs than the HP, I threw some more wood in the stove and in a bit turned the HP off, except for the one in the BR. It’s probably up to 10° or higher now outside.


They have come a long way in the last few years, I am thinking about one for the bedroom this spring. Wish I had one this morning, it’s up to almost 15 here and I have decided the lines are frozen outside and I am shutting down the pump before it burns up. Looks like I will be digging up water lines when the ground thaws, hopefully, the pipes will thaw when the sun warms them and we get enough snow cover to insulate them the rest of the winter.


That sux.


Agreed but what ya gonna do? I can pull the top off the well and do the bucket thing if I have to, don’t forget I lived off-grid for the last 9almost 9 years, this is the first time I have even had electricity so not really that big an issue. One of the reasons I have put off all my surgeries til spring. Don’t worry my friend we will be fine, sort-term I have plenty of water stored.


As I read about your water issues I reflected back on my short days of hauling water. I have no idea how you did it for 9 years. For me it got really old when the temp plummeted. It was bad enough before that.

All you can do is roll with the punches and look for a solution when that’s possible. I won’t wish you luck. I know you’ll do fine.




OK, so winter is more or less over, at least the majority of it. Winter is still fighting it out with spring up here in the great white north. Yeah, I know not PC. I must be a racist.

I wish I had a better handle on the heat pump but we kept our old elec’ meter since it doesn’t allow the utility company to “enter” our home to shut off appliances at their discretion during high loads. That means someone comes out every other month to read our meter and the in between months our usage is guesstimated. We pay extra to keep them outside our home and the meter read by a human.

OK, so 2 years ago the meter reader stood quite away off and read the meter with a sharp pencil and nothing else (he fudged the reading). He couldn’t get to the meter and it was obvious what happened. We NEVER have a $700 bill. This year our January bill was extremely high and so was the snow near the meter. I didn’t see it, but I can visualize the PO’ed meter reader coming out, seeing the snow and realizing he wasn’t dressed to actually read the meter. But standing off and reading it from afar with the same sharp pencil and no basis in reality worked to fill in the blank. We got another high bill. When I suggested to the wife that it was misread I was told that I didn’t understand. I understood that I wanted data and this didn’t give me what I wanted. But she was handling it since I didn’t understand (I understood perfectly). I figured I’d wait 2 months and see what transpired. She paid the high bill, and the next guesstimated bill and today the next meter read bill arrived. I asked how it was and the answer was it was low. Bingo! The meter had been fraudulently read. The heat pumps work fine. The wife didn’t say anything when I mentioned that. She sooo was blaming the high bill on the heat pumps and not a PO’ed meter reader. (Tip to the meter reader: wear boots. This is Maine expect snow! We pay you to drive out and actually read the meter!)

But I’m still going to use the wood stoves when the outside temps get really low, <20°F for an extended time. Both the HPs and the wood stove have the same constant heat quality. I’ll also keep using the B’room HP during those cold times.

We haven’t burned a drop of oil this year and I like that a lot. Didn’t burn much wood either. The HPs have saved us $.