Incredibly thankful…

I am beginning to really question the environmentalist viewpoint of replacing natural gas for electric for the purposes of heating homes.

I live north, a few hours from the Canadian border. High temperatures during the winter usually range from 25-40 degrees, dropping to between 20-30 degrees overnight. As everyone else in the United States, we also have been experiencing the Arctic Blast this last week. When we built our home, we went with an energy efficient electric ductless heat pump system. There is one exterior compressor and each room has a “head” in it. The heads can both heat and cool. Each room can have the heat or air set to a different temperature. They work great!

Until the temperature drops below about 20 degrees. They tend to build up condensation on the compressor unit outside. When that happens during the winter you get frost or ice build up. It then defrosts. During the defrost cycles, the units are not heating and the air they release into the house is cool. The colder the outside temperature, the more often a defrost cycle is required.

Fast forward to this week. Temperatures in our area have been between -6 and 6 degrees. Our compressor has been working overtime. I know because it sounds like a Diesel engine right outside my bedroom, and the bedroom feels cooler than the 61 degrees the head is set to. We keep the main room of the house set at 63 overnight, and it felt as cold as the bedroom. Fortunately, we have a gas fireplace in the main room, and cadet heaters in all the bathrooms (where cold air enters through our venting) and after a few hours, the thermometer on the remote control said it was 66 degrees. We have been using the fireplace to help take the lid off of the compressor unit. From what I have read, this is common, and it is recommended to have alternative sources of heat in colder climates. That would have been nice to know when we made the decision to install the system, we may have gone a different route.

In all my life of hearing with natural gas, I’ve never had a furnace struggle when the temperature drops. So my question for the environmentalists is this: while electric heat seems to be friendly to the environment, is it conducive to keeping people from freezing to death?


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