Heat pump monitoring survey

This post reports the survey responses of 229 homeowners with heat pumps. Key findings from the survey include:

  • 20% of respondents who had had their heat pumps for more than one heating season reported leaks; 7% of those having one or fewer seasons of experience reported leaks.
  • The majority of respondents judge the performance of their heat pumps based on on general perceptions of cost and comfort.
  • Among the 99 more vigilant respondents (43%) — those who record and compare bills or use heat pump power use or heat output logging — the known leak rate was 22% as opposed to 12%.

This direct survey of consumers finds leak rates higher than industry estimates. It also suggests that many leaks may go undetected since more vigilant homeowners identified more leaks; of course, it may be that identification of leaks causes increased vigilance as opposed to the reverse.

While this survey is small and informal, it suggests the need for larger, more rigorous surveys of consumers as to heat pump leak experience, possibly drawing on maintenance records. I will be pushing for additional resources to be applied to this type of study.

Additionally, the survey highlights that more homeowners should do basic performance monitoring — a simple measurement of supply air temperature will detect the degradation of performance caused by leaks. See additional discussion here.

Survey methods

I sent a notice to my office email list (over 5,000 people) with subject line and text as follows:

Short survey on heat pump experience

If you have heat pumps in your home, please take this short survey.

You can also take the survey if you previously had heat pumps in your home.

The email was delivered on Tuesday, Mar 26, 2024 at 10:00 AM and the survey remained open to complete until 8:30PM on March 27. During this period, the survey form was completed 229 times. There were 4 possible duplicates based on IP address and browser type, but these were not eliminated from the results.

Survey Results

1. We have had heat pumps in our home for . . .
just this past winter (2023-4)53 (23%)
more than one winter168 (73%)
not a full winter8 (3%)
All lengths of use229 (100%)
2. We monitor our heating costs . . .
 by recording and comparing past bills88 (38%)
 with heat pump electric power meters10 (4%)
 only generally102 (45%)
 we don’t29 (13%)
Other0 (4 “other” responses were recoded*)
All heat monitoring types229 (100%)
*”Other” responses were recoded to the highest level of monitoring that they implied.
3. We monitor our heat pump performance . . .
by checking heat output periodically with a thermometer36 (16%)
 with heat output loggers installed3 (1%)
 only through seasonal maintenance visits84 (37%)
 we don’t104 (45%)
Other2 (10 “other” responses were recoded*) (1%)
All performance monitoring types229 (100%)
*”Other” responses were recoded to the highest level of monitoring that they implied. The 2 not recoded “other” responses involved comparing power use to outdoor temperature.

Note: The first option in this question — “checking heat output periodically with a thermometer” — was poorly worded. It appears likely that most understood this question as asking whether they checked the indoor temperature of their home, a common behavior, instead of checking the temperature of the “supply” air coming out of their heat pump — a less common behavior which this question was intended to identify. The free form comments include many mentions of comfort and none appear to suggest regular supply temperature monitoring.

4. Our heat pumps leaked and had to have their refrigerant recharged . . .
 more than once17 (7%)
 once21 (9%)
 never164 (72%)
 not sure27 (12%)
All leak experiences229 (100%)
Cross Tab 1: Leaks vs. Heating Seasons of Use
Heating Seasons of Use% with known leaks
One heating season or less (61)7%
More than one heating season (168)20%
All respondents (229)17%*
* Differs from prior table due to rounding — exact value is 16.6%.

Note: As a test of whether the survey was possibly hijacked by people trying to make heat pumps look bad by reporting leaks, we examined the first 145 responses — those which came in within 4 hours after the survey was released. In my experience, the initial wave of responses to my surveys is usually comprised exclusively of people on my mailing list as opposed to people receiving a forwarded invite to the survey which may urge a particular type of response. In this safe group, the reported leak rate was the same as for the whole survey sample (17%).

Cross Tab 2: Leaks vs Vigilance Level*
Vigilance Level*% with known leaks
Lower (130)12%
Higher (99)22%
*Vigilance level was rated as “higher” if respondent (a) reported monitoring bills and/or (b) metering power and/or (c) logging heat output. Note that 36 reported monitoring heat pump performance “by checking heat output periodically with a thermometer.” We chose not to use this response as an indicator of “higher” vigilance. Of the 36 with this response, 25 reported either monitoring bills or metering power. So, if we had included this response as an indicator of higher vigilance, only 11 would have shifted from lower to higher and the % with known leaks in the lower category would have shifted to 13% and 21% in the higher category.
Cross Tab 3: Seasons of Use vs. Vigilance Level
Seasons of useHigher Vigilance* (99)
1 season use or less (61)46%
More than 1 season (168)42%
All lengths of use43%
* See note for Cross Tab 2

Free form comments offered

Respondents were given the opportunity to offer free form comments with the following prompt:

Please share your experiences with heat pumps, heat pump monitoring, refrigerant leaks

This was an optional field on the form, but 172 of 229 respondents chose to offer comments. The comments are reproduced verbatim below. These comments are worth browsing. My main take away is that heat pump experiences vary considerably across installations as to both cost and comfort. The comments suggest many additional variables that a larger and more rigorous survey might seek to address.

Ours is in Westport, MA; it seems to be doing a good job and did a fine job cooling the house, although the local electric bill doubled for distribution costs so our bill shot up and we’ve had to adjust accordingly. Not sure how cost effective they are in winter, but between solar and their more efficient cooling we hope the summer savings will balance out. We also feel better about our carbon footprint with a heat pump with some energy provided by solar power than burning oil.

It has been pretty reliable and allows for zone heating in the house which we previously didn’t have with forced hot air. Also, allows cooling in the summer without window units.

We had solar panels installed about 7 years ago. Then we added heat pumps for all heating except for hot water. We have annual checkup and maintenance on the heat pump and at the last year’s visit found out the pressure was a little low. We also found out that they were checking the pressure annual which vents some of the refrigerant. So we are going to check again this year – top it off and then not allow checking going forward. I am going to look for a pressure gauge that can be permanently installed so no more venting. We still have oil heat but using it for heating hot water. Our experience with heat pumps has been good. I would however change our configuration if doing it again so that there are no splitters. We have a main heat pump that serves as the central ac/heating and then is split to cover a splitter in a separate room. If doing it again I would have a separate heat pump for the separate room. I am going to try doing a through cleaning of one splitter as I can see it could be cleaner. I saw a video on youtube that went through it in detail and looks like something I could do but might not be for everyone.

I have seven geothermal heat pumps in each of seven apartments. My tenants and I are all satisfied with their performance. I started the installations in 2008. All of them have been installed for at least eight years. We’re all glad for the summertime air conditioning.

We’ve had a heat pump for three years. For two of those three years, the pump leaked all of its refrigerant and had to be repaired and recharged. It’s very frustrating since one of our main reasons for installing the heat pump was to try to avoid damaging emissions.

We have one large capacity heat pump installed that operates through a previous AC top-down air duct system in our home to heat the first and second floors. We also have left our former oil burner forced hot water system in place as a backup, and as the system that runs our hot water heater. We keep our house cool with the heat pump set at 61 degrees. Last year we supplemented occasionally with the oil system during cold periods. This season the supplemental heating was not necessary. The heat pump system has performed well over the last two winters and we have not required any repairs or refrigerant replacement. It also performs very well in summer as an AC system.

I am only using one in my kitchen to supplement oil in rest of house. Electrical costs have soared compared to last year. Also did not qualify for rebate because I did not install a regulator and make this my primary heat source. Do not make these a requirement- the electrical companies are taking advantage of us!

Mostly happy with a Bosch pump and a Mitsubishi pump. did have a leak in the line of the Bosc pump last month.

We are new to our heat pump, but so far we feel it is may be more efficient. After only two months, we are adjusting when the pump is used by adjusting the temperature outside. Meaning when the temp is 30 the pump kicks in. We are setting it at 35 to check that adjustment. Next we may go to 40….more to learn.

We wanted to do the right thing by cutting back on gas (forced hot air) and going electric but have found the costs to heat our home during the winter more than doubled.

Have had them for 20 plus years. I think they are pretty efficient.

We’re quite pleased with the heat pumps for AC in the summer, and pretty happy with them in the winter for heat as well. The heat inside the house is fine, and more even and stable than the old system (gas furnace, hot water radiators). Our main dissatisfaction is the noise produced by the outside unit during heating season – the noise is intermittent, and usually fine, but when the unit is revving up it is a lot louder than we were led to believe it would be. We have been told both that this particular LG unit is unusually noisy, and that it is not too much worse than others. Based on listening to other outside units, it does seem worse.

We haven’t had any refrigerant leaks, but I would love to have better real-time monitoring on performance and efficiency. I’m not even really aware of what devices are available to provide that kind of monitoring.

We upgraded our gas heating system to a state of the art hot water system with a half dozen zones.. In that process we removed the remaining steam based radiators (our old gas powered furnace heated both steam and hot water parts of our system. We installed a heat pump in one main room of the apartment to which we could not add hot water radiators due to installation difficulties. We liked the option of using the heat pump’s cooling function for the several weeks of extremely hot weather. We’ve never used air conditioners. We’ve liked the heat pump’s immediate heating when turned on and occasional releif from extreme heat. We have not kept records of gas or electric consumption to know how much less fuel we have used. We are aware that it is some.

6 heat pumps in a large condo apartment.. Central heated/cooled water source for entire building. All apartments have heat pumps since building constructed about 1986. Some auxiliary electric baseboard heating for extreme cold. Only leaks have been with old (20 years or more) units, which we replaced.

My concerns are- Refrigerant 410a will not be produced in a few years. The next one will be propane based. When entire unit of today needs to be replaced it mean everything changed. The new propane will not be interchangeable with existing 410a nor 22 We now have among highest electricity costs in nation. It’s around 34 cents per kilowatt. Elect companies will need to add transformers and lines and more power generating plants. Those costs will be pushed to consumers making cost per kilo to increase. The cities will require space for substations. On generation side some local states do not want transmission lines running through their state and towns. Solar and wind power varies and it’s costly to construct. If solar and wind generation costs more people will be less inclined to go mini split in these inflationary times. If u want more minis in rentals do away with depreciation of 27.5 years. Many houses and apartments have plumbing on outside walls. If there is no power for several hours and pipes freeze and burst that housing in inhabitable. With the current housing shortage temporary housing is not around. Some of us remember the northeast blackout. One local transformer failure and it’s minimum of 12 hours Nationally there r not lots of spare transformers. Some grids r almost at their limits on unseasonably days. Texas and California as recent examples. Mini splits need annual maintenance. It’s not cheap like 500 dollars. That might offset the fuel savings. Being fair the newer high efficiency boilers also require more preventative maintenance. I m undecided whether to go in with minis. I manage rentals.

100% great. No problem whatsoever.

During the winter, using heat pumps resulted in a significant increase in electricity bills. However, the heating did not feel efficient as the actual room temperature was consistently lower than the set temperature. The rebate offered does not offset the cost of the increase in electricity bills over multiple years.

Our house has had heat pumps from Fujitsu since January 2014, and we are glad to have them. We have 5 indoor units, with separate thermostat settings on each. They connect to 2 outdoor units which exchange heat with the air, not with the ground. We kept the old oil heat radiator system, with only 2 thermostats, as a back up. We keep the oil heat thermostat to a lower temperature; unless it will go below 11 degrees F at night, then we switch to the oil heat. The oil heat goes on some other times, especially to maintain itself, so we call for a tank refill only once a year. To keep the outdoor cooling fins clean of leaves etc. and snow, I wrapped the back with Air Care Kool-Wrap wrap around air conditioner filters that are held up with strong magnets. We usually get an annual service on both the oil and the heat pump systems. Once, in January 2020, they replaced one of the 2 outdoor units because of “a stuck valve for refrigerant”, and another time they fixed an indoor unit to be quieter. Our electric bill is three times as high in the coldest 2 months, but in the summer, our heat pumps give air conditioning with the electric usage being the same as before when we had only fans. For this survey, I calculated from our current electric bill (all renewable option by the way) that the average of the 4 hottest months was 17.4 kWh/day, and the average of the other 8 months was 37.8 kWh/day. I estimate that the annual electricity usage with the heat pumps was 1.8 times what it was without, or an additional 4,960 kWh in a year. We use a remote reading thermometer to monitor the basement laundry and hot water heater room in the winter, since there is no longer much waste heat from the oil burner. It shows it as never been too cold there.

I was surprised at how much our electric bill has gone up. I think the electric bill went up significantly more than the amount the gas bill went down. Also disappointed in how much longer the heat pump takes to heat the space compared to the forced hot air from gas that we had before.

Used in combination with older gas fired steam heating system, not as main cold weather system.

My condo building has had heat pumps since it went all-electric in 1982. I just replaced mine after 20 years of service. It was still working.

I wish I never got heat pumps. They warm the upper part of the room but with an unfinished basement, my floors and bottom part of the room is freezing .My legs are always cold. And that means I have to put my oil heat on, which didn’t want to do, which is the reason I got heat pumps. They really dont even warm the upper parts of the room unless they are on. When the room reaches temperature, they blow cold air! Which is ridiculous.

We have been a little disappointed about the lack of support from the installer. The subcontractor who put the units in was really good, but the main contractor has not been good about responding to questions. Mainly, we are having a hard time getting consistent heating in the house. Some units we have to turn down into the lower 60’s to keep the rooms from overheating. Other rooms seems to vary a lot from cool to warm to cool without any adjustment to the units. They have seemingly been less efficient than our gas boiler (by cost) because of these swings and sometimes overheating and lack of consistency. The main contractor has not been very forthcoming with helping us navigate this change.

Installed new unit in 2003 replacing a unit from 1986. So far no issues and just annual clearing of condensation pipes and filters as normal. Live in a small space of 700 square feet. Heating costs and cooling costs are about the same. Lowest in spring and fall at $90 a month going up to a max of $120 a month over the past two years. I would have to get real serious to pull the kw hours. For us we have always had a heat pump system and we live in a totally electric building built in 1986. We were once the subject of finger pointing as we were told by the city we should convert to gas for environmental reasons around 2003. My how things have changed. Of course our building was designed for heat pumps so we have few problems with heat loss and insulation not being in place.

We had heat pumps installed 3 months ago. We really could not be happier with the performance.. The heat comes on and warms our rooms to our desired temperature within 10 minutes. We only heat the 3 rooms that we will be in, and are not wasting energy and money heating our other spaces. We had Endless Energy do the installation. They were efficient, pleasant to have in our home while they did the installation. We needed a bit more amperage, and their electrician was great too.

When my seven-year-old, Lennox whole house heat pump had its inspection and tune up this year, its air temperature output was low. It turned out that it had lost 2 lbs. of R410A (out of about 10-12 total). The technician suspected it was a loose connection, which he said happened fairly often.

Heat pumps are horrible! One, they don’t cool or heat an entire house so that you need multiple units. As a result, you end up having multiple tubes running along the outside walls of your house. You also need multiple fans outside. They are ugly and make lots of noise. We’ve had leaks that can’t be fixed. Stick with central air systems, even if it costs more.

We have a power meter recording monthly electric usage of the heat pumps. We have a spreadsheet of total monthly electric usage and bills from Belmont Electric. Heat pumps use 85% of the total in winter. I normalize the usage against degree day data and then compare year to year. Usage VERY closely follows the temperature. Maximizing performance and efficiency is complicated and required a number of changes over several winters. Distribution of air flow is important to that end, thwarted by older homes with multiple small rooms. The AUTO fan mode is not sufficiently aggressive when temperatures drop, so increasing the fan speed to improve warm air distribution will help. Location of the indoor units is critical, since they will normally service more than a single room.

We typically only use out heat pump during shoulder seasons. Gas is our primary heat in the winter.

The heat pumps have worked fairly well for us. In the more open areas of the house, we’ve usually used a heat setting of around 67, which seems to work. For the smaller rooms, we’ve found that a lower temperature of 63 or so often seems to work. On the coldest days, though, we’ve had to bolster the heating system in the more open areas with space heaters or our gas fireplace. Even though we don’t consider our heating usage to be our out of the ordinary, our electric bills for the last 2 months have been over $500 a month, which is considerably more than we paid for gas heat. That has left us somewhat disappointed with the arrangement, and makes us wonder what happens with people who can’t afford an increase in their heating bill.

Dunno, can’t afford a home here, who cares about heat pumps? Does my building have one? I don’t know. Will I be able to afford the coming rent increase? Probably not.

This is a new heat pump installed in July 2023 for the upper 2 floors of a 3-story duplex. The heat pump has performed without incident in this time. We still have the gas furnace that used to govern this area and use it in a review capacity. It has rarely gone on. The heat pump condenser is surprisingly loud. I monitor electricity usage in a relaxed way by comparing bills. Since the heat pump is new, the data are thin.

I use my heat pumps only in the spring, summer and fall. When temps go below freezing on a regular basis, I must switch to my gas powered steam heat system (Dec, Jan, Feb & March).

Works well in any room a head is but rooms that do not have heads are cold. Cost to run has been very high. Monthly electric bills run over $400 not including oil which is close to $ 700 … A/c works much better cooling whole house at a lower cost. Interestingly cost of electric seems to be higher each winter. Cannot say I’ve seen any cost saving to the contrary seems much higher. I have 4 heads and 2 compressors with outputs from 12000 to 18000.

We have had a heat pump for 12 years. We have regular maintenance, twice a year, and it has generally worked well, except for when the temperature gets below 20. Our auxiliary heat is full electric. We had a number of repairs done while the heat pump was under full warranty and Atlantic Plumbing and Heating has been wonderful in honoring the warranty and providing knowledgeable technicians.

In general, love these and recommend strongly. I like heating and cooling as needed in different parts of the house— that is not an option with our natural gas system for the house.

No leaks over four years of operation. We did this in conjunction with 24 solar panels being installed. I suppose we should have a better monitoring program in place.

Boston Standard installed a heat pump and mini-splits in December 2020: cost was about $13,000 though much of it was covered by rebates. Work was a bit sloppy — the installers did not plug a 4″ access hole they had made in a wall, in December weather, when they left overnight. I plugged the hole with a rag. The heat pump, sitting on a platform, was vulnerable with delicate fins on two sides unprotected against physical damage. I bought after-market hail guards, cost $800 and installed them on the heat pump to resolve that issue. There was no air conditioning as of June 2022. The installers came, discovered a leak at one of the mini-splits, repaired it and recharged under warranty. The heat pumps have functioned well for heating and cooling since then, though we have had to reinstall refrigerant line covers outside the house a couple of times when they came loose, and tie them in place with cable ties.

We had ductless heat pumps installed for our second floor in 2012 and for our first floor in 2019. We have had no problems of any kind with either set of heat pumps. The only maintenance that has been needed is cleaning filters and preventative maintenance visits, which we’ve done mostly annually but sometimes let that slip a little.

Our pumps really struggled when it got below 20, although that that was rare this winter.

I just got them this past summer. The heat is kind of blotchy. I set the temperature way higher to get get to 66 or 68. The heat is very dry. I have solar panels so the cost is free but I dont LOVE the new system. Free is nice though! And the MASSSAVE incentives and loan were fantastic and easy to navigate. No leaks yet – (I DONT THINK!)

We noticed an increase in electricity usage, as we were told to expect. Our house goes from 67 degrees (nighttime) to 73 degrees when we reset it in the morning almost as rapidly as our high-powered furnace did. We no longer have a humidifier, but don’t feel the house is too dry. Is that because heat pumps don’t dry out air like furnaces?

So far the system is great! More comfortable, not more expensive, much faster heating and cooling

We have had no problems in the 4 season we had them.

Mice got into my outdoor units and caused damage. One urinated on the compressor motor driver circuit board and was electrocuted, but it cost hundreds of dollars in parts and labor to replace the board. A second mouse chewed thru the wiring for a sensor, which had to be replaced, costing another couple of hundred dollars. A third mouse ate thru other sensor wiring. I caught it before the wire was chewed through completely and repaired it at the cost of two of my labor hours. I plugged holes in the enclosures thru which mice could enter the outdoor units and set traps inside and outside the outdoor units to prevent this happening again. Good so far (except for two more mice RIP). Would appreciate it if NEEP or DOE or whoever specifies heat pumps had a specification on mouse-proofness (such as no holes in the enclosure greater than 1/4″ diameter) and reported on whether heat pumps met it or not. Snow build-up is another problem. When snow is heavy and wet, it can cling to and clog the air intake louvers, which are slots in the sheet metal enclosure, stressing the compressor and fan motor. I check during heavy snows and use a stiff broom to clear the intake louvers. Still, I’d rather have these problems than the problems I had (and contributed to) with oil heat. My heat pumps produce plenty of heat all winter long. Thanks for your efforts.

We just do the maintenance visit yearly. We also have our old oil heating system, so we are trying to do a balance with that. Heat pumps alone are not that warm, the old steam system is so comfortable. We don’t want to use as much oil as we were before the Mitsubishi system was installed, this helps us cut way down.

The air quality from our heat pumps is far better than from our gas baseboards. It’s moist and fresh and avoiding gas is far better for our planet; particularly when your electricity is powered by wind and solar.

We have one of over 80 heat pumps in our condominium building. Our heat pump has performed well. Most of our problems have been shared with others in the building: faulty boiler, problems with the cooling towers. These problems have generally been addressed in timely fashion by building management.We have had the heat pump in our unit replaced once since we came here in 1991.

I was not too happy with the 2 mini splits installed on the first floor. I was told that the entire 1st floor would be warm. The 2 bedrooms and the bathroom did not receive the heat from the mini splits. Only the living room, dining room and kitchen were receiving the heat. Therefore, I have been shutting off the heat pumps at night and turning on the oil furnance to heat the 1st floor. The mini split installed in our finished attic is fine, it heats the attic quite nicely.

We’ve had our heat pumps for years and are very happy with their performance. They never leaked.

Our condo had heat pumps when we moved in in 2008. They developed a leak and we had to replace the refrigerant more than once. We replaced the whole system in 2023. We get 100% wind electricity which could affect our costs. We only use radiators when it’s really cold so our gas bill is low.

Ours are too new to know if they leak (installed February 2024)

Our heat pumps have only been installed for 3 years and have worked as expected. There are times where because of the weather we have used our previous heating system, but it has been rare.

NA I have a heat pump hot water heater

We just installed them and this is the first winter- so far so good.

Heat pumps: not powerful enough to replace central heating system.

No problems to date, they perform admirably, three years old. The make is Fujitsu, coverage to -15 degrees. With the solar panels, all heat, A/C, hot water, lights , and power, its costs us about $200/year. This includes our dwelling unit plus an ADU occupied 6 months/year. The cost furnished and installed, during a gut rehab, was about $27,000 (seven wall units and three heat pumps), not including the electric.

I believe we have an electric heat pump (it is electric heat) in a condo that we mainly use seasonally on the North Shore. We have only been there 3 years. However, last winter our son used the apartment for the whole winter. In contrast, this winter we have only gone to the condo for 2-3 days every two-three weeks. The curious thing about our heating bills over 2023 VS. 2024 is that they have stayed more or less the same during the two winters: about $200/month for a unit roughly 1350 sq. ft. We don’t understand why this should be? When we are NOT there (which is most of the time this winter of 2024), we turn the heat way down (it is surrounded by other units in an old mill building). So why does it cost as much to heat this winter as it did last winter? As we used considerably more heat last winter, the stability in cost just doesn’t make sense!

Ducted system. Leak was an error by the company that happened at tail end of installation. Otherwise heating, cooling, and cost comparisons have been admirable.

We have 2 heat pumps, one in our bedroom and one in the 3rd floor sewing studio. Both work well to heat and cool. Only rarely do we use our radiator heat along with the pump. The older pump didn’t seem to be putting out as much heat as it had. The technologist showed us how to clean the filters and it then was fine.

Thanks for following up on this. Would appreciate info on how to monitor better.

We recently installed top of the line Bosch heat pumps. They work well, are easy to control but are insufficient in cold weather. Thank goodness we kept our high efficiency gas furnace as a backup. We depend on it. We have also found our electricity bill has gone up significantly.

We rely on annual service visits from our installer to detect any refrigerant leaks, but I actually don’t know if they actively look for them.

I live in town house condo in N. Waltham – I had a heat pump when I moved in – it was 10-12 years old and so I got a new one 2 years ago. I have been very satisfied. I have never needed to use the auxiliary electric heat with either system. And have had no issues with any maintenance – leaks or otherwise. My bills were generally down about 15% a month according to Eversource with the new system.

Maybe we had a leak right away–we have had mini-splits for three winters and three summers–excellent in the summer, has had a difficult time getting above 58 degrees on our first floor when it’s below freezing outside. It finally stopped working altogether, we got it serviced and it had a leak, and we’ve had much better heating and much lower heating bills since.

Not in my home, but at work, we hired a large, local HVAC company to install a heat pump to add AC to our computer server room. The installer oversized the unit during installation. Five years later, it stopped working. The original installer came out and said there was a refrigerant leak. They recommended nothing more than recharging. This happened with one of the more experienced installers. So this is a very depressing situation. Maybe the state could require a Manual-J from installers?

I love that it has AC but my house is old and so the retrofit doesn’t work as well as I had hoped. There are pockets of hot and cold air during the winter and it doesn’t keep the temperature stable and at a comfortable level during cold spells (<=32).

We have 2 mini-splits, with the intent of both providing enough AC and reduce oil use. We did not opt for full heat-pump conversion. (we’ll leave that to nest owner) Installer botched the refrigerant connection, early July. AC worked fine, heat did not in Nov/Dec. They fixed it immediately when reported, no charge. It’s been fine since. We’ll wait until end of heating season to compare costs. This was a warm winter, so it will be hard to compare.

Due to a poor installation job, the 5 heat pumps have been less than a happy alternative to oil heat. With multiple repairs over the course of 2 years, they appear to be functioning somewhat consistently now.

Given different “degree days” no easy way to monitor and compare heat pump as a supplemental heat source. Heat pump seems to do a good job when outside temp is above 32F but efficiency and output drops when outside temp is < 20F. Also needs to run a defrost cycle when cold and humid outside.

NB: all of this may be irrelevant, as after the first winter we used our heat pumps only for A/C. We were not warned of any periodic service needs when the heat pumps were installed. (This may be a side effect of buying into Menino’s big push, which meant a lot of work got done hastily, under the aegis of an organization that went bankrupt a few years later.) We had to replace a leaky minisplit (holes all over the core according to a dye test) and, separately, all of the lines from one of our two compressors.

WORST decision we ever made: horrible heat, spiked electrical costs, and ugly. I can’t wait to move and make this someone else’s problem

Our electric bill has been $500+ each winter month, which far exceeds previous winters and more than doubles the cost of gas heat. We hope the refrigerant doesn’t need to be replaced again. Despite all the hoopla about going green with heat pumps, we now have reservations.

Would love to know more how to monitor heat pump performance. We switched in the fall from oil to ducted heat pumps and are completely floored by the cost of heating! It’s double of what we were paying last year with oil ( we are in Watertown and signed up for community choice to lower the cost of electricity as it is)

We have two ducted cold climate heat pumps serving our 1900 sf raised ranch. We do not have a backup heating system. We’ve been very happy with the performance of the heat pumps in both heating and cooling our house. They kept the house warm even when the temperature dropped to -10F in February of last year. The only issue we have had with performance was when mice got into the outdoor unit of one of the heat pumps and chewed through a wire, which caused the heat pump to shut down. Apparently when it was installed, our contractor left an opening where the refrigerant lines enter the back of the outdoor unit that was big enough for mice to get in through.

We have had a heat/ac pump in our condo for over 40 years and have had the indoor unit changed 2 times. I have it checked twice a year. Sometimes it is uneven heating/airconditioning but that may be due to the layout of our unit. It can also be noisy. Generally we have been satisfied.

I’ve had a heat pump as my primary heating and cooling system for 40+ years. Replaced it twice as it reached its maximum lifespan.

We never monitor it and use it only to heat and cool the master bedroom.

Heating with heat pumps is not as efficient as using our gas furnace. The cost in electricity is not sustainable.

It’s a heat pump with gas back up The experience is generally good the only thing that surprised me was that the default setting is based on economic efficiency and the heat pump is only used when the outside temperature is over 45 degrees. You can override it and go only heat pump

Our heat pump splits are installed close to the ceiling and in order to feel the heat, fans need to push the warm air down. The fans are noisier than I would like. I was a guest in someone’s home and they have a whole house, ducted system. In the guest room the noise from the heating system kept me awake.

two heat pumps to heat or cool in just two rooms in house. One had to be fixed when a kind of bees build inside the mechanical part of the system . After removal and repair, has worked fine.

We have been using a Mitsubishi ductless system for 10 years. It basically runs continuously summer and winter. Never had a problem. We clean the unit once a year. That is the only maintenance we have done. Installer vacuumed refrigant lines very carefully and emphasized the importance of doing it well for reliability.

They are designed to auto slow performance / output when temps drop. At wind chill factor of -13 degrees (which happens in our winters, they begin to stop. At -25 chill factor, full stop. One neighbor had to move to a hotel for the duration of one such chill. It is important to have back-up heat options on hand as home interior temp drops into the 30’s fairly quickly. I called Mitsubishi and spoke with their quality control engineers who gave me the exact operational temp numbers. Next, they are noisy. The outside condenser unit emits a humming noise every time they cycle on and until they cycle shut off. The noise could be heard in every room of my town home and woke us constantly. No peace and quiet. The neighbor’s unit required us to shut our windows year round to attempt to control the noise. Third, they produce massive utility bills. Often double or triple all other conventional heating systems. Last, but not least, the air handlers, mounted inside, always develop molds on surfaces due to our humid New England environment. Even when air cleaner in use.

We have a whole house heat pump for the part of the house that is served by ducts for our furnace and (previously) our A/C. We still have the furnace, and the heat pump and furnace are controlled by a thermostat using the “droop” strategy. Typically, it doesn’t switch over to the furnace until the outside temperature is below 25 degrees. Our experience with this heat pump has been pretty good. The issues we found are that it is nosier than the furnace due to the higher speed the furnace fan runs at while the heat pump is operating. Also, it feels like cold air is blowing out of the register when the heat pump is operating. For the upstairs study, where the ducts don’t run, we have a mini split. That has been great winter and summer for several years now.

I had a refrigerant leak, but it happened immediately after installation and it was caused by faulty refrigerant line couplings at my pre-existing air handler. The air handler had been serving a central AC system for about ten years and apparently the couplings weren’t designed for the higher pressure caused by the new heat pump compressor.

we have low refrigerant at the moment, and are seeking options to replenish that won’t incur too great a cost. The maintenance tech mentioned the leaks may be caused by the copper pipe having microscopic holes due to the wrong insulation damaging the pipes themselves.

We use our heat pumps mostly for cooling in summer.

I would be interested in companies used. I used Revise, and they failed to work with the people who installed the heat pump to inform them of my concrete walls, so the installers didn’t bring the proper equipment and so didn’t finish in one day, as promised. We had to suffer through the hottest heat wave as a result. They also failed to pull a permit in Belmont (they pulled it in another town instead).

Overall, we have been very happy with our 2 heat pumps and 5 minisplits. They have worked flawlessly in winter and summer extremes. The one drawback with our system is that each minsplit is controlled independently. When going on vacation, for example, this requires 5 separate changes to our programmed schedule. I know there are after market programs/apps but we have been advised against them.

Our five-zone, ‘whole house’ heat pump Mitsubishi system has been in for a couple of years. It’s cooling/drying abilities rival the window AC units that came before it. In the winter, it’s great for applying heated are to just the areas you want until the outside temperature goes well below freezing. Then its effectiveness begins to diminish somewhat. Taken as a home improvement decision, it’s been more cost effective and far more trouble free.

We have two heat pumps and they have performed very well. Both have gas backup for temps below 25° and state of the art thermostats that monitor their performance and allow me to control them when I am away from home. With the proper unit, installation, and maintenance heat pumps are a good investment and wise choice for our environment.

We’ve had ours since 2018. LOVE THEM. We basically heat or cool the room we’re in. We keep the thermostat low enough for just hot water and non frozen pipes. We used B&G Heating and Air Conditioning on Clematis St. in Waltham. Fabulous, clean installation.

We bought our house 5 years ago and it already had 2 mitzubishi heat pumps for AC and heat. Whenever we turn them on, they work great and keep those two rooms that are harder to heat/cool (due to many large old windows that we are soon replacing), very comfortable. Because we use them only on the hottest/coldest days in just two rooms, we haven’t monitored the $cost on the bill. I am looking forward to hearing what others have to say! Thanks for this survey.

Had to add electric heat in the bathrooms due to not enough heads on the unit. Units are in bedrooms and living dining mounted on the wall, not central manifold with distribution that could have served the bathrooms, and an office that also now does not have heat. our old central air system served all rooms. But the space gained by removing vertical ductwork, and efficiency of system is worth it. The Mitsubishi units have the thermometer on the unit which is high on the wall so the room temperature is lower than the setting (heat rises). So I put a thermometer on the unit and one next to the remote to regulate in the living room. Have to set the unit at 75 to get 68 at people level. Should be a thermostat in the remote that controls the unit.

On the whole we’re very satisfied with our heat pumps. We did have a defective one that was replaced under warranty.

I have: Electric baseboards, Gas fired steam heat, Gas fired hot water baseboard, Gas fired hot air heat, Central air AC heating and cooling, and Heat pumps. Heat pumps are by far the worst system because of: -Refrigeratant leaks, -Electrical problems, -Failure to operate in very cold weather (when needed) -Expensive internal head cleaning, required annually

We had to replace thermistors repeatedly, maybe due to a problem with the original (Mitsubishi) equipment that was never properly addressed. This has been a real pain and expense and meant that we couldn’t use the equipment at all for a/c during heat waves because there was a shortage of contractor repair staff. So finding a good supplier and repair/maintenance company is crucial and not always easy. That aside, this winter we relied on the heat pumps exclusively and never had to turn on our gas-powered steam heat at all. I have found setting the programming/schedule inscrutable and never use it, unfortunately. Otherwise, they are great.

Seems to be about the same cost but much better for the environment. In combination with belmont time of use program and setting our pumps to preheat the house and then be off during peak hrs, in combo with solar we have seen significant savings.

Best decision I have ever made… went from oil fired steam to heat pumps…absolutely used the rebates from BMLD. Hoping for more alternative electricity generating sources coming on line. I am not opposed to nuclear power with today’s advanced construction techniques. I could go on, Will! AEC_III

We have been very happy with our heat pump for six or seven years now. It is quite effective when weather is above 35°. Maintenance has been quite minimal. We do have it serviced twice a year. There have been a couple of minor mechanical issues, including one time when we needed to have refrigerant added. This seems comparable to the maintenance required for other types of heating systems.

We have a great first winter with our new heat pump. It’s a ducted/ductless hybrid system, with no fossil fuel backup, and it’s met our heating needs just as well as our old gas boiler. The heat is also more even, and less drying, than our old radiators. The cost has remained about the same as when we were using gas. The only annoying thing was that the process around getting our $10k rebate from MassSave took literally months. While we’re fortunate enough to be able to float that kind of money for multiple months, I suspect it could be a struggle for a lot of folks who are less fortunate. Our installer did offer to float the money for us, but we would have had to forgone a discount for them to do that.

Un sure of the value of this to our household. Seems more beneficial to the contractors. Thankfully we retained oil and gas to heat our whole house.

The original heat pump installation could not handle the -10 degree day in February 2023. The indoor dropped to 52 degrees. After repeated calls, it only got addressed by involving a lawyer, and then there was additional insulation and a stronger heat strip was installed.

We have had heat pumps for awhile. The technician is coming today to check them, we didn’t know they needed to be checked every year. They were are real benefit when the furnace died last week. We tend to use them of AC, and frankly forgot about the heat.

The electricity cost for the heat pump is three times higher than oil we have figured out. Not worth using in the winter but will be nice having AC in the summer

Compared to gas/steam system w one thermostat. Have very much enjoyed room by room control. Have been setting temps on day to day basis. Appreciate the quick response to increasing temperature. Bathroom (with no minisplit ) felt cool for showers in mid winter. Have only kitchen range & dryer left on gas. Looks like our overall elec /gas bills combined may be equalish to our last 12 month period.

I am disappointed by how more more expensive it is to heat with heat pumps than it was with our natural gas boiler and steam radiators. Our utility costs went up on top of having to pay for the considerable equipment and installation costs. We had a very bad experience with the company that installed our heat pumps. We’re not doing monitoring and the installation company never mentioned anything about monitoring or the possibility of refrigerant leaks. Now I am wondering how we would check on that.

We had a heat pump in the ‘90s. Granted, technology has improved but the experience was costly & inefficient. We aren’t in a hurry to try again.

Based on my winter electric costs, the cost of using heat pumps was at least as much as gas heat, which was disappointing after all the insulation that was installed as part of the project.

Heat pumps are a different kind and strength of heat so it takes some getting used to and requires a learning curve to get the temperatures right. Given the cost of electricity in MA, ours definitely do not save us money compared to (low efficiency) gas boiler hydronic heat but given we installed solar panels partly for this purpose, it’s working out for us along with getting us central A/C. We got the heat pumps just before the frigid, -10 deg F days in Jan/Feb 2023. While they couldn’t quite keep up with what we set the thermostat to, they worked fine, though the increased electricity usage/cost as the temperature gets lower and lower is a bit astounding. (130 kWh used for the -12 deg day/night). But, that was the coldest night in 50 years, so an outlier. During the shoulder season, they are great for just getting a few degrees up or down for very little cost.

Excellent supplemental heat for finished attic in 100 year old two family house.

Overall, we are happy with our heat pumps. They keep the house at a nice steady temperature. They’re a bit more costly to run than our old gas furnace, but we knew that going in. Cost to install them in our 1930s home that didn’t have duct work was quite high, and we wish there were a way to tighten our home’s envelope even more than what MassSave offered. We’ll be signing up for annual maintenance contract with installer to keep our heat pumps working smoothly.

Electricity costs to run the exchanger were very high. We received hot water from building-wide gas boilers and paid for that energy via our condo association dues. Because the system was so old, it was not clear the overall efficiency was any better than if we heated our space via other means.

No leaks yet. Installed at the end of 2019, I believe.

Have performed well for over 10 years. I like that no ducts are needed.

Our installer tossed the manufacturer’s connection parts aside and used his own cheap parts. Hard to say why. We didn’t know this, and the system gradually failed as the refrigerant leaked. We had those installers back to repair the system multiple times. Eventually we moved on and found a competent installer who showed us exactly what the first one did wrong. Once they re-installed everything the “right” way, our system has performed flawlessly. Heat pumps are actually great, but incompetent installers are convincing people that they are a mistake.

Our heat pump with mini splits was installed in November 2023 so we could have ductless air conditioning. The heat function has worked fairly well, but we won’t have a complete evaluation until we see how well the air conditioning function works over the summer.

Heat pumps are a very ineffective heat source in the New England’s climate – its too cold up here.

We used a heat pump at our last house. We used it to heat an unheated room on the side of the house (formerly enclosed porch). It was very effective at quickly bringing the space up to temperature. We didn’t have any issues but it was also just an add on to our existing system so we didn’t track it closely.

great, though it is important to use it to save energy. It is not a good idea to turn it off while at work. Better to turn it down only a little to save energy.

We had a leak after getting our four-head pump installed but have had no problems since, that was in December 2021. We only monitor performance based on whether the air being blown is warm or not, nothing fancy. In general, the only problem we’ve had since then is a noise complaint from our neighbor. I will note that I find her leaf blower and lawn mower (both gas powered) much louder!

We gut a heat pump by accident. We were having central,ac installed in our old Victorian house. They were unable to install the high velocity tubes fhr the first floor because our basement is finished. So they installed a mini split in the first floor. We were delighted to learn it was also,a heat pump. Usu g the heat pump has cut diwn on gas usage without the heat pump…having the heat on high enough to get the first floor warm meant that the second floor would be like a sauna because the first and second floor are one heating zone. We recommend mi I splits to anyone gettung central ac.

Our heat pump was unfortunately not installed correctly (not enough cold air return, wrong kind of insulation on the exterior lines). It heats the space, but it has needed recharging twice. The thermostat doesn’t switch off correctly, so it is either all the way on and uses incredible amounts of electricity, or we turn it off. I would get a heat pump again (better for the environment), but would definitely go with a different type.

I love heat pumps. They really don’t work well when it’s below freezing but otherwise, they’re great!

Having a heat pump is the worse thing ever. Especially electric heat pump is a scam for cold winter areas. It is not even designed for cold places but it was marketed and used in here. We highly recommend not to use electric heat pump. Thanks Best

We are extremely happy with our heat pumps, which were installed in the fall of 2022. I think it’s a huge case of mis-branding to call them ‘heat pumps’ especially as year round weather seems to be getting warmer (sadly) The heat pumps are an amazing replacement for our clunky, old, space hog, loud window unit air conditioners. While our main goal for getting heat pumps was to reduce our use of gas (for winter heating) I was not anticipating what a gigantic bonus it would be to have them serve to cool the house as well. So far we have not had any leaks or operational problems. It was an excellent experience, living in Cambridge, to be able to consult for free with experts —offered by the city–to help us decide what products and company to go with.

see no major change in cost of operation vs. prior year without

Just installed mini-split heat pump system one month ago. Working well so far. I couldn’t believe how complicated the process was and how much research involved, in part related to the overall Mass Save rebate program. Decisions at each step of the way: ducted vs ductless systems, placement of mini-splits and outdoor unit, necessary electrical upgrades, removal of asbestos/vermiculite in order to re-insulate, and removal of unused oil and old burner. Everything posted on Will’s blog was helpful! Still, there is no single right path, so it’s challenging to see how we will scale up across the state in so many old houses! Also mini-splits are not completely silent – we have found the ISee technology on Mitsubishi equipment to be a constant pulsing noise as it monitors the room. Our installers were great but it’s not as though there is a showroom to evaluate this very expensive equipment (as you would do for a car) and the installers have limited experience with use and operation.

Heat pumps were sold to be a 4 season solution when it’s been a struggle to keep the house warm during the winter since they were placed in the upper part of the wall. I am currently getting quotes for baseboard heaters as a better/more economical solution for the winter months/where I don’t have to fight having the heat at the top of the room to adequately keep my rooms warm.

They keep the house comfortably cool in the summer. We’re having trouble keeping the house comfortably warm during inter weather and have had to supplement by turning the furnace back on.

There are many things we love about our heat pumps – the heat is steady, rather than fluctuating as it does with a radiator, and we are able to have heat in rooms that were previously unheated or poorly heated. And of course we appreciate the potential environmental benefits. However, we still rely on our gas boiler to supplement when the temperature gets below freezing. After years of trying to figure this out, I believe it’s because our main open space (where the thermostat for the boiler is) is not sufficiently well served by a single heat pump. Smaller rooms don’t have a problem. Unfortunately, we would need to make a significant investment to expand the system. In retrospect, we feel that the installers did not make a good judgment about our needs and oversold the potential of the system they were installing. I don’t know if other people have this problem.

I’m still in my first year with my heat pump, so I haven’t had any issues yet!

The windows are dreadfully leaky and all the heat comes out of the registers near the ceiling and stays there. The main floor of my house is freezing and miserable!

We’ve gotten used to the huge pump in our rooms. But the split system alone is not enough to keep our house warm in the winter, even when we wear LOTS of layers. The rebate system with MASSSave is another (horrid) issue.

They were great for cooking last summer but they struggle to keep up with the winter cold. We kept our gas furnace and have to use it when the temps are below 20. In general we like having the heat pumps for milder days, and set them at 70 (warmer than we would normally). We don’t turn them down at night-because it doesn’t work to adjust that way – so end up turning off the one in our bedroom so it doesn’t get too warm. So not perfect-and more expensive than gas. But we are glad we made the switch.

Our heat pumps have been working since November. Have no idea if they are leaking, etc. Do know that we’ve had our first electrical bill in five and a half years. I’m sure it costs more to run them than our gas new boiler, but that’s not the point. The goal is to reduce GHG emissions.

Our system has one external unit and 4 head units inside the home. We treat only a portion of the house. In the coldest winter days the untreated rooms are too cold so we rely on the original radiators. In summer, untreated rooms are mostly fine when the AC is running. No significant complaints, and the installers from Burns Mechanical in Watertown did a magnificent job. Not quite central air, but close enough for comfort.

just had to get used to adjusting / shutting off around 40 degrees for supplemental heating source

We just installed geothermal heat pump last fall. So far, so good.

We love our heat pumps and are having more installed right now. We want to move to an entirely solar-powered model to heat & cool our home (air & water) so we are interested in information re solar-fed batteries to power heat pumps. If the State has that info someplace, it would be great to see it; we’ve not been able to locate it just yet.

Heat pump has been great for the shoulder season but not able to provide enough warm heat when converted to forced air to heat our poorly insulated brick house. Still happy as I think our net gas usage has gone down.

We have been very happy with our heat pumps. We have not had any negative experiences and our electric bills have been reasonable throughout the year. We have done a yearly service (now twice) with the company we used to install the heat pumps. The yearly service is pretty expensive so we’re not sure if that is the norm (like over $500) and we also aren’t sure if buying the service plan the company offices is worth it. We’d love to know if others find the plans useful and worth buying. We don’t know many people who have heat pumps in the area to compare experiences.

We have two Bosch variable speed heat pumps for each of the floors in the single-family home. This was installed in new construction house, and so far there is little to complain about. Heat pumps are not as quiet in the heating mode relative to when they are in the cooling mode. However, they have very little difficulty, keeping most of their output and without excessive electric consumption up to 20°F. For our balance point we have selected 25 below which it switches to a propane furnace. The complaints usually associated with a defrost cycle are mitigated by the propane furnace, running in parallel when the defrost cycle is active. We compared our energy costs against another house in the same subdivision which is new construction and comparable size that is purely run on propane and even with the current energy rates of around $.35 it costs about half of the heating cost. obviously, if the house was on natural gas, it would not be very good competitive. We’ve also made some tweaks to mitigate the discomfort with cooler air blowing from the vents. We selected a brand of floor vents, which directs air towards the wall, and away away from furniture and that helps a lot.

We’ve liked our heat pumps a lot. There was a learning curve. We have learned that “set it and forget it” does not apply to us; we did a study taking into consideration outside temperatures and compared a period with no set-back at night to a period with a 5-ish degree set back between 9 pm and 6 am, and the set-back time clearly saved kW’s and money (although when the temperature dipped to 20 or below the difference was much less). [Note we have an electricity-use monitoring system so we can see exactly how much energy the heat pumps are using.] We especially appreciate the AC, which we never really have but with hotter summers and a condo on the 2nd and 3rd floors of our 2-family, we really need it now. We do feel that we were mis-sized. The small unit in our bedroom makes the room much too hot, so except for the very coldest nights we keep it off. And the large unit in our living room/dining room/kitchen area doesn’t heat the farthest area sufficiently, so we turn the gas furnace on from 6-9 am in the coldest months. We have a few rooms in the house (rooms from children who have left the nest) that aren’t covered by heat pumps. We got a hugely expensive quote for installing ASHP’s in these rooms ($26K) so aren’t doing that. When guests or kids come home and use those rooms in the winter we turn on the gas. We are hoping for a technological breakthrough with air to water heat pumps or something that will prevent us from having to buy another gas furnace or keep these rooms cold forever.

I only have a half split in one room. It works well summer and winter, and helps me keep the house heat down in the evenings. But I half suspect it has increased my electricity costs – though I can’t be sure of that. I have no proof, but they are slightly higher than last year, and I wonder if that is it. I suspect my oil cost must have gone down slightly. And yet I have no regret because it gives me air conditioning in the summer, and that worked very well last summer.

I had a company call and say that our family was approved to get a free heat pump. They put in the heat pump that seems to work well, but at times it does get loud. The install company and/or heat pump company was supposed to move the unit a bit per the town but has not returned. I never received the company name or instructions for maintenance so I have an orphan heat pump and no information on how to care or repair the unit.

We do pretty much nothing in terms of maintenance, beyond cleaning the filters regularly. We have 2 compressors that support 3 heat pumps. There is no central control of our HPs. Recently I was told by an insurance company that they couldn’t offer us insurance because we didn’t have central heating. We still have our boiler (which we only use on very cold days) so I was able to obtain insurance. We had trouble this past winter on very cold days with inadequate heating on our first floor (even though the size of the unit was meant to cover the entire floor).

Because of the non-contiguous layout of our apartments (our house has two units, each spread over two floor including the “basement” and the “attic”), air circulation is a problem and we had a lot of trouble getting the settings to adequately heat/cool all our spaces. Finally got remote sensors set up (bypassing the thermometers on the indoor units themselves) and that seems to work really well in one unit. Because of more complex layout issues (and unit resident’s unwillingness to allow changes) the other unit continues to be problematic for heating.

Heat pumps have allowed us to use zone heating and cooling which would otherwise be impossible It has made the house much more comfortable I doubt that we have save much money but don’t really track. W keep out oil heat set on 63 – if set too low the basement freezes We paid to dollar for installation and in return got high quality work . And very prompt service No leaks in almost 10 years We have had to repair a compressor – single broken thermostat and one indoor split has a fan that is making noise and needs to be fixed Getting parts can take a long time ( we have been waiting 4 months already fr a fan part ) and outdoor compressors can only be worked on in warm dry weather It has been a great secondary system – I would not use this as a stand alone as fixing can take a long time

I previously indicated that our heat pump was not able to keep our apartment at 68 F during the coldest parts of the winter – it turned out this was due to a problem with the air handling / air flow, and with that fixed we are having no problem keeping the apartment at any temperature we want – it’s really nice! At the same time we installed the heat pumps we also installed solar panels, and we switched from using a 1976 gas boiler / steam radiators, so it is a tough comparison. I track our electricity bills / usage, but I haven’t compared to the dollar-to-dollar cost compared to when we had the old boiler.

In general it has been a positive experience.

This is my first winter with a heat pump for a house on the Cape. It has been extemely disappointing when the temperatures dip below 30 or 40 degrees as it does not perform (meaning it does not heat the house). If I didn’t still have my old heating system connected as a backup, it would have been a disaster! I am hoping that this summer the AC functionality will do better.

Leaks can be difficult to repair if residence is in a multi unit building as the lines run down common walls etc if unit is on the roof. The jury is out on heat pumps in new england as they DO NOT work well in extreme cold for heating. So, if it’s below 20deg F, they have trouble keeping up. And given they run off electricity that comes from fossil fuels (unless you have solar panels), they are not doing anything for the enviroment. The better solution for heating would be Gas! It’s much cleaner and more cost effective in the city.

We’ve had our heat pumps for 5 years. The insulation on the lineset has corroded, so all the linesets need to be replaced at a cost of over $5000 before the copper pipes develop pin size holes and start leaking refrigerant. Apparently this was a problem with a popular type of insulation that was used between 2016 and 2020. I purchased an emporia monitor but haven’t been able to install it because I have a generator, making the installation complicated. I need to hire an electrician.

Since our landlord converted our house to heat pumps, our electricity bills in the winter have been $500-$600/month.

we use our heat pumps mainly for a/c in the summer and for occasional supplemental heat in winter. We have natural gas hot water radiators and strongly prefer radiative heat to hot air heat of any kind. We plan to replace our gas boiler with a heat pump once they become available for hot water radiative heating systems.

In general I feel that we are saving money with the heat pump; however with a mild winter behind us it’s tough to determine if the heat pump was really the money-saver. The installer charged me $250 twice to recharge.

Overall very good experience. After 7 years, one of the compressors failed, and the second failed 6 months after. Not a leak problem. Since that was approximately their expected life, we didn’t count it against the technology. We burned so little oil during that time it was still a big win. We replaced those with new units with a longer warranty. Particularly excellent for AC.

Excellent alternative to oil. Keeps the house at a much more even temperature and it’s not dry. Also less noisy because there is no furnace to turn on and off. Electric cost can be high during high use periods, but it’s less when weather is above 30.

We replaced our gas furnace and steam radiators with a fleet of mini-splits three years ago and have been very happy. Out peak electric bill is typically around $250. Currently, we are part of the Time of Use pilot program through Belmont Light which allows us to “pre-heat” the house when electricity rates are lower and then shut off the heat pumps during the more expensive peak electricity period (4-8 pm). This saves us money and helps Belmont Light shave peak electricity usage during evening hours. A win-win.

So far so good. I also installed a mini split in the basement but that was too expensive to keep on. Total bill for one month was $575. House is 11oo square foot split cape. If we want to use the basement, we have a wood-burning stove we will use. We had been using wood heat exclusively for 12, but at our age, schlepping wood was getting onerous. Good to have electric back-up, and will be very good with hot summers coming up.

Ours is new. Sure hope the system does not leak!

You can’t tell whether our heat pumps are leaking. Apparently newer models of heat pumps will provide this information, but not the ones that we have installed. It leaves you flying blind about how your heat pumps are performing.

Heat pumps have difficulty maintaining desired temperature during extremely cold stretches.

Our heat pump is relatively new (installed January of 2022), so we do not have a lot of data on leaks, etc. And we didn’t get a heat pump monitor. I didn’t know that was an option.

We have had a mitsubishi mini-split for 4 years that we use to heat and cool an insulated attic room that we use as the master bedroom. We have had no issues with its performance. We have it checked every other year, wash the filters pretty regularly, and that’s about it.

We had a new ducted heat pump installed to replace a 20 year old heat pump and have had issues with slow leaks and with a full leak inside our house of refrigerant. We like the heat pump a lot but there seem to have been a lot of issues with installation. We also have two non ducted mini splits that we really like and have had no issues with.

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Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

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2 Comments

  1. Based on most of the comments detailing many negative experiences with heat pumps (leaking, noise, inefficient heat, inept installers, huge electric bills), I don’t see a benefit to heat pumps right now. Even if I had the money to: upgrade my electrical amps to the house, install solar to offset rising electricity costs, and install the heat pumps themselves. I keep my gas heat very low (60 – 62) weatherstrip my old house and other things to help it retain heat. We are going too fast to electric without perfecting the products we need to run all in electric. Or have the infrastructure in place.

    Thank you for your continued real-world information on this subject.

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