#373–What a difference heat pumps make . . .

I kept thinking of Dinah Washington’s 1959 song, “What a Difference a Day Makes,” the day after my heat pumps were installed. Thursday, temperature in my house when I got up was 58 degrees, and the next day, Friday, it was 68 degrees, although the night had been colder. What a difference heat pumps make.

There was about eight inches of snow the morning of installation, although on one side of the house, the work was done under trees where little snow hit the ground.

I have a home with a central heating system that worked fine until 2010 when I remodeled the downstairs to be an apartment with an added door that stays closed at the end of the stairway. Ever since that happened, the downstairs with eight-foot ceilings and doors, heats up very quickly. My area is very open with open-beam ceilings over the living room and dining room and no doors except down the hallway. So, my area rarely got above the low 60s. In the last two years, I haven’t used the central heating at all. So, my renter and I have been using several small space heaters, resulting in high electricity bills and not particularly safe. So, it was time to consider heat pumps.

The inside unit is placed near the ceiling.

A few weeks ago, I knew very little about them. I went online and learned as much as I could. I also checked for closest retailers to my area and Florence Heating and Sheet Metal popped up. I talked to others with recent heat pump installations, and they recommended the same business. I mentioned it to my yard guy, Todd, who said his girlfriend had recently had two heat pumps installed—one upstairs and one downstairs. She also recommended the same business. Todd knows the owner, Steve Wolford, whom he had gone to high school with. So, I felt confident stopping by Florence Heating and Sheet Metal.


This is what he was connecting to from inside.

I met Steve and his wife Krystal. We chatted and he thought one upstairs and one down would work best. And she bought four of my books!! I liked these people.

Within a few days, Steve came and measured and made notes. A few days later, I received an estimate. I stopped by the office and signed paperwork and he told me about the $800 rebate from Central Lincoln. And we set an installation date.

The inside units, both upstairs and down, fit in nicely with the decor.

Installation day turned out to be snow everywhere. Not just a light dusting but at least seven to eight inches where I live at 350 to 400 feet. And temps just above freezing and still snowing off and on––not ideal for installations that involved more of the work outside than inside. I wasn’t sure they would be there, but they were and on time.

Heat pumps come in two parts. There is a relatively small unit that goes inside on a wall up by the ceiling and a larger unit that goes on the outside. The downstairs unit was smaller in both components than the upstairs units because of a smaller space to be heated.

This is the smaller unit sitting outside on cement blocks.

Because they are heat pumps, I’m getting heating as well as air conditioning, which is one of the advantages. Another advantage is that they run on a whole lot less electricity, which makes them much cheaper to operate.

To complete the installation, the units need to be hooked up to the source of electricity. Wires running from units down conduits from inside unit to outside unit and then through basement and up to fuse box in garage. Or something like that. That’s based on watching installation upstairs inside and the occasional peek out the window to see one outside installation and hearing sounds from the basement and garage.

This is the outside unit for the larger one. It doesn’t look like it in this photo, but it is almost twice the size of the smaller unit. It is set on a bracket that is attached to the wall of the house because of the slope. It was not easy to install this one because of the cold, the snow, the slope, and being behind bushes.


After the installation, Steve instructed me on the best way to use this type of heating and how to use the remote. With a remote, I won’t need a ladder to make changes. And his helper instructed my renter with her own remote.

He said the best way to use it, was to set it and leave it. It does best on maintaining the heat, rather than turning on and off every day. I have found that the areas where I do most of my living are the perfect temperature for me—68 degrees. And the bedroom, the farthest away is a few degrees cooler and that is just fine, I prefer a cooler space for sleeping.

Bottom line: I’m a happy camper and highly recommend heat pumps. For the first time in years, I have a warm house. And it’s working just fine during the coldest days of winter. And, of course, I’m looking forward to my electrical bill going down!!

About crossingsauthor

Judy Fleagle spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.Since 2009, she has written five books: "Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges," "The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans," "Around Florence," "Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known," and "The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!!."
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2 Responses to #373–What a difference heat pumps make . . .

  1. Sorry to hear about the fire. Yes, I would recommend heat pump(s). What’s HS stand for? Keep in mind that in order for the heat to circulate with a heat pump, doors need to be open between rooms. Individual units for rooms would make it very expensive. You also need an outside wall for the outside unit and not in the front of the house for aesthetic reasons. So, where are you and Rick living these days?

  2. Theresa Hart says:

    Judy, My HS and Rick and I are having some major work done on our house in Gardiner after a fire there a year ago. No one was hurt in the fire but the damage was extensive. Our contractor also recommended heat pumps for our home instead of replacing the furnace. It’s amazing the cost savings. It’s good to know how effective they are and that Central Lincoln has a rebate on them. We will reach out to them. I’m glad you have effective and efficient heat in your home again. Theresa

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