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Deep Freeze & Town Hall Heat Pumps

Updated: Feb 9, 2023

See how they performed.

This weekend's temperatures plummeted to the lowest we've experienced in several years. A friend's 1823 home with oil furnace / baseboard hot water plus a wood stove was only able to maintain an upstairs temperature of 52 degrees and 60 degrees downstairs during the coldest period of Friday night / Saturday morning. This was the perfect occasion to see if the heat pumps at Town Hall would perform as claimed at the Heat Pump presentation of February 2022.

All Town Hall Heating Zones within 2 deg of setting
Feb 3, 5:30 pm Outside Temp: 3 Degrees
Main town hall room holds at 63 degrees
Feb 4, 5:30 am Outside Temp: -10 Degrees

Fortunately, we were able to monitor conditions at Town Hall remotely via phone App. Each of the two images above shows the temperature settings at town hall on the left side and the outside temperature conditions on the right side. The town hall has four heat pumps, two upstairs and two downstairs. The two downstairs heat pumps are in the large room, with one closer to the bathroom (Bathroom) and one closer to the Court bench (Court). The bold number with the ^ mark indicates the thermostat setting. The Now number indicates the actual indoor temperature.

At an outdoor temperature of 3 degrees, the upstairs temperatures remained at the set temperature, and the downstairs temperature remained within 2 degrees of the settings. When the outside temperature dropped to -10 degrees, the upstairs temperature remained at the set temperature in the Assessors office and was several degrees lower in the larger CEO area. A similar pattern was seen downstairs, where the temperature near the bathrooms was at the set temperature, while the other thermostat indicated a temperature of 63 degrees across the room. Why the difference? The two units are very close to one another and there are no structures that separate them, so they would have been expected to read the same or very near the same. Maybe one of the units had just undergone a defrost cycle or, with the high winds, was more affected by a nearby draft.

The heat pumps purchased and installed at Town Hall in 2022 (Mitsubishi Hyper-Heat Heat Pumps) were performance rated to a temperature of 0 degrees F. On one of the coldest nights we've seen in these parts for a long time with temperatures of -10 degrees, the units appear to have met, and even exceeded, expectations.

The Climate Smart Task Force is planning on offering another presentation on heat pump technology and on the new federal tax deductions and rebates for the installation of heat pumps that became effective this year. Heat pump technology continues to improve, with systems now being rated to temperatures well below zero. If you looked once, it's worth looking again, and if you haven't, now might be the time.

If you have heat pumps in your home, please tell us your experience with this weekend's freeze in the comments field below (only shows if you are a subscriber).

Another article on heat pumps across New England from the Boston Globe:

Heat pumps had their first major local ...Here’s how it went
Download PDF • 654KB

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Ah ha! This is exactly what I've been waiting to find out. I'm happy to hear they performed that well at those low temperatures. Given that it is rare for the temperature to dip this low, I think I am convinced heat pumps will work for us year round. I hope some others chime in with their stories of last weekend.

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