Earl O. Knutson letter: It's time to look at heat pumps

From the letter: If your current oil or propane heating system is nearing the end of life, it seems worthwhile to consider converting to a heat pump.

Heat pump stock photo.

A February 7th article by Anna Phillips in the Washington Post tells of a home heating transformation going on in Maine. This might be of interest to rural Minnesotans where the climate and heating modes are probably similar to those of Maine.

Reader Opinion letter
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Since Phillips’ article is not publicly available a few statements of interest are repeated here:

“Mainers are embracing heat pumps — boxy machines that function like reverse air conditioners, combining heating and cooling systems in a single unit.”

“Efficiency Maine, a quasi-state agency, offers rebates that cover part of the heat pump’s cost;...”


“Heat pumps do work in cold weather. Although their efficiency declines in subzero temperatures, today’s models can provide heat even at minus-15 degrees.”

“In a state with fewer than 600,000 occupied housing units, the agency has already given out rebates for 116,000 heat pumps, blowing past its original goal of helping residents install 100,000 units by 2025.”

“I am using more electricity, there’s no denying that,” Paul Nadeau said. “But it sure is a whole lot cheaper than burning oil.”

Apparently, heat pumps are already in wide use in Maine. Fuel oil and propane will become backup heat for a few of the coldest days.

If your current oil or propane heating system is nearing its end of life, it seems worthwhile to consider converting to a heat pump.

Financial help is available from power companies and from state and federal programs.

Earl O. Knutson

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