As Pacific Northwest summers grow hotter for longer, air conditioning is becoming a necessity for many to make it through the season.
Whether portable or permanent, air conditioners can only cool a space — making them useless for the other three seasons a year.
It’s not unusual for property owners to rely on two systems for year-round comfort, but there is a simpler, and often more efficient, way to live.
Clark County’s mild winters and low energy costs make it an ideal climate for heat pumps and ductless heat pumps. They’ll keep the home warm or cool on command and save energy in the process.
Clark Public Utilities estimates customers typically save about 30 percent on their electric heating costs when they switch from zonal electric heaters to a ductless heat pump. In addition to the savings, they warm a home faster, and more comfortably than electric resistance wall heaters.
Heat pumps can easily supplant or supplement a furnace or other forced air system. The heat pump manufacturer industry is also developing new heat pump systems that combine home climate control and hot water heating. While these systems are not yet commonplace, work is currently underway to develop these systems as a viable option to reduce energy waste even more.
Ductless heat pumps are designed to heat and cool an entire home without ducting systems. Upscale models can be installed in an attic to serve multiple zones simultaneously — no open doors required.
Air conditioners, heat pumps and ductless heat pumps are all heat exchangers, essentially. They extract heat from one area and move it to another. But where air conditioners can only move heat in one direction, heat pumps can move in both directions.
The advanced technology makes heat pumps or ductless heat pumps more expensive than air conditioning systems upfront. However, heat pumps offer owners a chance to recoup their investment through energy savings achieved by efficient heating. Air conditioners can’t do that.
Clark Public Utilities can help lower the initial investment cost with rebates. Depending on the unit and existing heating system, Clark Public Utilities offers substantial savings to customers who install a heat pump or ductless heat pump.
Homeowners interested in just heat pump water heaters can also save. Clark Public Utilities offers a $500 rebate for a new hybrid water heater in existing homes. Heat pump water heaters purchased at retail locations in Oregon receive the $500 incentive at the time of purchase. The utility also offers an $800 rebate for split system heat pump water heaters replacing electric storage water heaters in existing homes.
All rebates have unique qualifications that must be met in order to qualify. Installation must also be done by contractor in the utility’s contractor network. The network isn’t a guarantee or warranty of any kind, but a list of contractors who’ve met the utility’s high standards of customer service and knowledge about our incentive programs — in addition to having all necessary bonds, licenses, insurance and professional credentials.
More information is available at ClarkPublicUtilities.com/rebates. Customers can also contact the Energy Counselor of the Day at the firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-992-3449 during business hours.
Energy Adviser is written by Clark Public Utilities. Send questions to email@example.com or to Energy Adviser, c/o Clark Public Utilities, P.O. Box 8900, Vancouver, WA 98688.