While heating your house may not be at the top of your mind right now, this is a great time to look into a new heating system. As you may know from past columns, we are big fans of ductless heat pumps, which both heat and cool a home.
What you may not know is that people who electrically heat their homes and are income-qualified may be able to receive a new ductless heat pump installed into their homes free of charge! This is thanks to the No Cost Ductless Heat Pump program sponsored by the Grays Harbor PUD, which is administered through us here at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor.
Cheap alternative for heating, cooling
Before we get to the specifics of who might be eligible, give us a minute to tell you why we love heat pumps!
For starters, our climate is one that is well suited for heat pumps. In Grays Harbor, a regular outside heat pump and inside air handler/furnace is often an efficient way to heat a house. The technology of a heat pump basically recovers any heat from outside air and transfers it via a closed-loop refrigerant gas to the inside air handler unit inside your house. The air handler blows circulating air through a radiator coil that was heated by the gas and that is what is delivered through the house.
The good news this time of year is that during hot weather, the heat pump will do the reverse – drying out the indoor air and pulling the heat out of the air inside the house and blowing it off outside at the heat pump. The returning air feels cool, providing you with a nice air-conditioned space.
In the 1970s and 80s, when fuel prices shot up and environmental concerns came to the fore, oil furnaces went out of favor. Some were converted to natural gas or propane. Now you hardly ever see oil furnaces in new construction. It was about that time that the better heat pump technology, home-sized air handler systems were developed and priced to be used in residences.
Ductless heat pumps – which are just as they sound, not needing duct work to convey the heating or cooling– were the next iteration of this technology, coming strongly onto the scene some 20 years ago.
Their benefits are many. Here are a few:
They do not pollute.
They are relatively easy and inexpensive to install (free to those eligible for this program).
They provide clean air – good for folks with allergies and health concerns.
No ductwork in or under your house, saving that floor space for what you want it for and saving you money on installation cost.
They are inexpensive to operate – paying for themselves in just a few years and lasting 15-20 years!
They are easy to maintain.
They help to keep your home healthy.
We think the drawbacks are few, but we do need to mention them:
The heating units, although small, are visible, so the location of both the exterior and interior units might initially be a practical or aesthetic concern. However, the newer units have come a long way in this department.
If the electrical power goes out, you lose your heat – unless you have a compatible generator or another backup source.
Qualifications for eligibility
There are certain qualifications for homeowners or renters to participate in this program.
1. To be eligible, the total family income cannot exceed the following: The maximum yearly gross income for one person in the home is $25,520; for two people, $34,480; for three people, $43,440; for four people, $52,400; for five people $61,360; for six people, $70,320; for seven people, $79,280; and for eight people it is $88,240. Income verification is required.
2. Single family homes (including mobile homes built after June 15, 1976) are eligible.
3. Home must not need major structural or health and safety-related repairs.
4. The current source of primary heat in the home must be permanently installed electric heat and you must be a Grays Harbor PUD customer (both subject to verification by the GH PUD).
5. The home must be at least a year old and be occupied year round.
6. Homeowners (and tenants with owner’s approval) may apply.
In addition, we at NeighborWorks will determine the eligibility of the structure for the installation through an initial inspection and also verify the income of the applicant. The free installation of the ductless heat pump cannot require more than a minimal electrical upgrade to install and the interior unit must be able to be installed on an exterior wall.
Contact Pat Beaty
Pat is the one who heads up this program. So, for questions regarding the program or to sign up for initial inspection, contact him by e-mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message for him at (360) 533-7828, ext.112.