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How Do Heat Pumps Work?

You already have a heat pump in your home - your refrigerator. It keeps your food cool by using electricity to move heat from inside your fridge to your kitchen. Our Mitsubishi cold-climate heat pumps work in the same way in Vermont homes across the region:

In Vermont summers, heat pumps act as air conditioners, transferring warm indoor air to the outdoors, to keep your home nice and cool.

In the winter, our heat pumps extract heat from the outside air - even when it is very cold - to keep Vermont homes warm and comfortable. 

Heat pumps are not furnaces. They don't produce heat by burning fuel; they use electricity to move heat from one location to another. For this reason, heat pumps are very energy efficient and can provide up to three times as much energy as they use. And with the long cold winters we experience in Vermont, anyone can understand the need for more efficient heating options.

Cold temperature performance

Heat pumps work at outside temperatures as low as 13 degrees below zero - or more - but they are less efficient. Heat pumps that are 300% efficient at 50 degrees may be "only" 100% efficient as temperatures fall below zero.

Back-up heating system

If  your home is very energy-efficient, you won't need a back-up heating system, even for very cold winter days. However, most Vermont homes will need a back-up - typically a traditional furnace or boiler - on those extra cold days when the heat pump needs some help. 

Higher electric bills

Heat pumps use electricity to transfer heat - so your electric bills increase whenever your heat pump is running. In some cases, and especially if you heat with propane, your higher electric bill is more than offset by the decrease in your fuel bills.

Testimonials from Energy Co-op Members

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I would like to thank you for assisting me in getting a grant from the State of Vermont for a new tank, slab and roof ..... Your furnace man told me my tank would need to be replaced, and told me about this grant for low-income households ..... Your staff helped me out a lot and I would like to thank each and every one of you. This is a big expense, and with your help I was able to get it done with little cost to me. Thank you all again.

–Daria K., Milton, VT

Member: Vermont Fuel Dealers Association, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, Renewable Energy Vermont, Local First Vermont

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