Utility offers rebate for ductless heat pumps

Upgrades urged for homes with electric furnaces, baseboard heat

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter



Ductless heat pump program

What: Homeowners who currently heat their home with cable ceiling heat, baseboard or wall heaters can receive a $1,000 rebate to help pay for an upgrade.

Who: Clark Public Utilities issues the rebate with nonprofit, Portland-based NW Ductless Heat Pump Project.

Contact: Energy Services at 360-992-3355 to learn more about eligibility and finance options, and for a list of approved contractors who provide ductless heat pump system installation.

On the Web: http://bit.ly/ZCrlLZ

The search for a less expensive way to keep the house cool this summer could finally pay off for a whole new category of Clark County homeowners, starting this month.

Even those who have houses with baseboard heat or forced-air electric furnaces are now eligible for a $1,000 rebate if they install a ductless heat pump. In fact homeowners in manufactured homes with electric furnaces are eligible whether the furnace still works or not.

Rebate criteria have been expanded by the Portland-based NW Ductless Heat Pump Project, which sets qualifications for the ductless rebate offered by Clark Public Utilities.

The new eligibility requirements will allow more people to save money on winter heating bills and help them keep the house cool in the summer, said Matt Babbitts, a customer account representative at the utility.

"The ductless heat pump is nearly three times as efficient as ceiling heat, wall heaters or baseboards," he said.

Ductless units — commonly mounted to walls and ceilings — also can cool the whole house or part of it during those hot summer months.

"They (units) do a really good job of providing a consistent temperature throughout the home," Babbitts said. He added that in many cases, ductless heat pumps

work more efficiently than systems that rely on duct work. That's because the ductless systems deliver heated or cooled air directly to the room, avoiding the leaks associated with duct work.

Once installed, the ductless systems can shave between 25 percent and 50 percent off the homeowner's heating bill.

Although prices vary, a system for a 1,200-square-foot ranch-style house would typically need a system costing between $3,500 and $4,500 to purchase and install, said Jerry Sutherland, a sales manager for MetFab Heating and Cooling, a Vancouver-based company on the utility's list of approved contractors.