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Is a Heat Pump Right for your Home?

We’ve visited more than 150 Vermont homes over the past three years. Many were good candidates for a heat pump; others were not. Here’s what we look for:

Floor plan

Heat pumps are similar to wood and pellet stoves – they are space heaters.  If a wood stove works well in your home – so will a heat pump.

Homes with open floor plans, where there are no walls or barriers between one end and the other, are excellent candidates for heat pumps.  Homes with several small rooms on the same floor, connected by hallways and doors, are not suitable.  Many homes fall in between these two extremes - but may still be suitable for a heat pump.

Fuel use

If you use less than 600 gallons of oil or propane a year, a heat pump will lower your heating bills – but your payback will be less attractive. At present, propane is more expensive than heating oil. So, if you use more than 600 gallons of propane a year to heat your home, a heat pump may be a good investment.

Locating the indoor blower

The indoor component of your heat pump goes on an exterior wall in an area about one foot high by three feet wide within a foot or so of the ceiling. For the best results, the wall should face a large open area of your home.

Locating the outdoor compressor

The compressor is attached to an outside wall, near the ground, ideally in a spot that is protected from rain and snow. It is about three feet wide by three feet high.

Distance between indoor and outdoor units

The indoor heater/air conditioner and outside compressor should be no more than 35 feet apart.

Connecting the indoor and outdoor units

In order to run the refrigerant lines between the indoor and outdoor units, there must be no masonry or similar materials in the way. You should also have an unfinished basement ceiling (for the electrical wiring).


The breaker box is usually in the basement and contains the circuit breakers for your home. It should have at least 100 amp service (the number is often written on the main circuit breaker) and at least two open slots to accommodate the heat pump circuits.

Use this list to check out your home and then, if you think a heat pump will work for you, give us a call at (802) 860-4090 or send us an email. Our service manager, Joe Cobb, would be happy to talk with you and to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation site visit.


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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