Where the Northwest
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Up in Smoke

Created 9/30/2015 by David Bopp
Updated 10/9/2015 by Suzi Asmus
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If you are like me our prolonged hot and then very smoky summer left you feeling a little like an overcooked chicken.  However, I am one of the fortunate ones in the valley to have AC.   I installed a ductless heat pump over three years ago and have been reaping the benefits ever since.  Until this summer I never fully realized the benefits of my heat pump which are many.  How many benefits does your heating system provide?

Up till this summer I counted the comfort my heat pump added to my house as the biggest benefit.  No longer did I have warmer areas and colder areas throughout my living room, kitchen, and dining room.  I also no longer had any noticeable drafts.  Everywhere was comfortable. 

I also valued the efficiency.  I was paying half as much for electric heat as I was before.  This was good for my economic security and peace of mind.  I knew in advance I would be able to afford my winter heating bills no matter what the winter threw at us.  I could even afford to keep my home a little warmer which added to my comfort. 

On top of comfort and low cost it is also so easy.  I have always used a combination of electric heat and wood.  Now I have no collecting, hauling, splitting, moving, or cleaning up after the wood.  Sure I still use some wood for ambiance or if the power is out but virtually none.  Much easier.  My wife likes this too; she dusts less.  It gets even better; my kid’s doctor likes that there is less wood smoke around the house and dust inside the house.  Less chance of health issues for my little boys.

Seriously, I got rid of almost all my wood use, increased my comfort, reduced my heating costs, it is easy to use, there are some winter health benefits, and it involves less cleaning around the house.  The crazy thing is that until this summer I didn’t know there was an even greater benefit.  Air conditioning.  Prior to this summer I didn’t value this benefit very much; sure it was nice but not essential. 

As we went through this very hot summer with warm nights I appreciated the AC more and more.  Still I wouldn’t have counted it as a very large benefit until we got to the smoke.  During our hazardous smoke conditions I was able to keep my young boys inside; playing, happy, and comfortable.  No risk of breathing issues, doctor’s visits, or worries about long term health issues.  Sure a little wood smoke in the winter brought a small potential for health issues but Hazardous air quality was in a different world.

I never thought my heat pump would provide this level of safety to my family but it has.  Do I get this extra safety benefit every summer?  Hopefully not.  Maybe next summer won’t be a big fire year but I would guess it won’t be very many years till we see hazardous air conditions again.  Almost 9 million acres have burned in the U.S. this year (Interagency Fire Center).  Only 6 years have seen over 8 million acres burn since 1960 and they are from 2004 on (Interagency Fire Center).  My money is that we will be breathing the smoke again much sooner than any of us would like.  At that time I will once again be very thankful to have my heat pump. 

Until then as we enter a new heating season I will enjoy my comfort, convenience, low heating costs, and myriad of other benefits.  Are you preparing yourself for this winter and future summers by installing a new heat pump?  Flathead Electric has been helping families like yours and mine install heat pumps in their homes for many years.  Since 2010 we have provided rebates to almost 1700 members for their heat pumps.  We have also loaned out more than $800,000 to help people upgrade their homes.  Do you know if you are eligible for some help? Don’t let this opportunity pass you by and go up in smoke.

For a limited time several of the ductless heat pump manufacturers are offering extra instant rebates.  Prepare yourself for winter and summer with the installation of a heat pump.  Saving energy is nice; being comfortable is better but even more important is your family’s health.  Are you prepared to take care of your family for the future?

Published: Flathead Beacon 9/30/15

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Comments (1)
Suzi Asmus on 10/09/15 on 03:12 PM (Pacific Time)
Thanks for sharing and highlighting such a personal experience with the benefits of your ductless heat pump, David. This was a great read!

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