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Everyone’s talking about heat pumps

(image source: DOE)

If you’re like us, you’re probably seeing a lot of talk about heat pumps in your news feed. And some of it is pretty dramatic – like when climate activist Bill McKibben proposed “heat pumps for peace and freedom.”

The New York Times / Wirecutter provides one of the most comprehensive and accessible heat pump guides we’ve seen recently. If you have air conditioning, you already rely on a heat pump to keep your home comfortable in the summer. That’s on top of the other heat pump you probably wouldn’t live without – your refrigerator. But heat pumps can do more than make ice cubes or cool down the inside of your house on a hot day – they can run in “reverse” to move heat into your home during the winter. Providing both heating and cooling is a pretty neat trick, but even more impressive is that by electrifying your heating and cooling, heat pumps help us reduce or eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels.

If you’re looking for more technical details on how heat pumps work, the Department of Energy’s pages on air-source, geothermal, and ductless mini-split heat pumps will get you well on your way to being an expert. For the visual learners among us, after countless YouTube searches, we think we’ve found the best explainer from PBS’ This Old House – enjoy!

Unsure about swapping your HVAC equipment, but looking to learn more about the efficiency of your home? As you consider investing in new equipment, you’ll want to ensure you have good insulation and air sealing in order to drive down the total amount of energy your home consumes.

PSE&G offers four distinct programs to help customers identify energy-saving solutions, have energy-efficient products installed, and receive upgrades that may be available at no cost, or that qualify for rebates and interest-free, on-bill payment.

  • Comfort Partners and the Home Weatherization Program are for income-qualified customers and can result in thousands of dollars of weatherization and energy efficiency upgrades at no cost.
  • The Quick Home Energy Check-up is a great way to start gathering information about the performance of your home’s energy use. The assessment can be done in-home or virtually. You’ll receive advice and recommendations to address insulation, air leakage, heating and cooling systems, lighting fixtures, appliances, and water heaters. In addition to your tailored report, the inspector may provide or install LED bulbs, faucet aerators, water-heater pipe insulation, smart power strips, at no cost.
  • Home Performance with ENERGY STAR takes home assessments to the next level as you’ll choose a participating contractor and pay a fee for their in-depth inspection. Depending on the results, you may qualify for thousands of dollars of rebates and interest-free on bill payment to help you pay for upgrades.

Have you participated in any of these programs? Let us know how it went! We’re eager to share up-to-date information and first-hand accounts with other neighbors.