Costs of heat pumps- one Vermont experience

Here’s an interesting letter that appeared in the Caledonian Record a week ago, from a man who I don’t know,  Jonathan Baker of Danville. He writes this from his own experience

“My household recently decided to be good citizens and invest in heat pumps to move away from dirty and expensive heating oil. Unfortunately, the economics are not good.

“We were charged $7,500 for the installation of a mini split [heat pump] unit rated at 1.8 ton. You need around 3 tons for a 2,000-square-foot home, so we had to get two [units].

“The good news is the units did reduce our oil usage quite a bit, probably 75 to 80 per cent. However, our monthly electricity bill increased by over $300 dollars! With the astronomical installation costs, we won't break even on these units until long after our kids have graduated from college in 17 years.

“This almost completely offsets the heating oil savings, and gives you an idea of how incredibly expensive this effort will be and also why the power companies are so eager to give you an “incentive” to install heat pumps. They will make that money back within six months.”

“You may be keen on helping the environment, but just be aware it takes a lot of green to go “green.” Don't look down on others who can't afford to transition away from fossil fuels

Thank you, Mr. Baker.


Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.

Enter Comment Here:

  • Jack B
    commented 2023-04-05 12:14:17 -0400
    I agree it costs money to go green initially but if you want to be brutally honest, it’s typically that people with more money look ahead and think differently, which puts themselves in better situations to make investments. Switching to a heat pump now will actually cost you way less in the long run, if you use base-heaters instead. You’ll make you’re investment back in less than 10 years. Sometimes it’s our own attitude towards money that’s the problem. For example, my friend down in Victoria, BC, Canada used to always use lack of money as an excuse to let her house go cold in the winter. I told her that all she had to do was invest in a heat pump and her hydro bill would be super low, but she stuck with the base-heaters and didn’t even use them. Lo and behold, her bad attitude toward money cost her in the end, because now she has to pay $2,000 to get rid of mould growing all throughout her walls. In other words, not going green can cost you more green in the end. I even told her this company at would do a better job and make sure the mould doesn’t grow back, but her attitude won again and she’s going with an amatuer she found on Facebook who probably won’t even fix the problem properly. Think long term!
  • Karl Baldwin
    commented 2023-03-31 10:40:52 -0400
    Your contractor really screwed up. First of all, your temperature control system should have 20 BTU for every square foot of living space (general rule of thumb) in the area you wish to heat or cool. They should have sold you a single, four to five ton, system. 20 × 2000 = 40,000 BTUs / 12,000 = 3.33 tons (12,000 BTUs = 1 ton). Without considering other influences, I would have gone with a 5 ton unit.

    The heat pump is recognized as being 66% more efficient than other forms of heating (gas, oil or electrical resistant heat). Modern technology improvements (like rifled tubing) today make heat pumps even more efficient. That should equate to your heating cost being 1/3 of your former costs. Your cooling costs should also be somewhat better, but won’t be as significantly better than your regular A/C.
  • David Flemming
    published this page in EAI Blog 2023-03-16 09:25:06 -0400