Heat Pumps and COP28

The email below the PowerPoint Slides was received from a reader that just installed heat pumps and had his utility bill double.  It is in bold italics.  My response is below and I have made this point in the video presentation and every other presentation since 2019.  



I removed your other info from the email because I wanted people to see this.

Look at the slides from my presentations.  These numbers were confirmed by NYSERDA in 2019.  In the magenta are upgraded figures for 2023.  This is for the NY Metro area and electricity is cheaper upstate.  My electricity was $.26/Kwh last month, 30% higher than yours.   When I asked the NYSERDA Engineers why they were pushing heat pumps and not letting everyone know about the cost issue, they just got quiet.

The slide from my 2019 PowerPoint with the holistic carbon emissions is below that.  The high mass radiant Ground Source Heat Pumps in my house actually do lower holistic carbon but air source heat pumps, depending on the outside temperature either raise holistic carbon emissions or do nothing except double your heating bill.   If you are complaining about your bill in November, I don’t want to speak to you in January and February when the temperature drops and the Heat Pump COP goes down with it.  The gas furnace is at 95% efficiency no matter what the outside temp is.  Be glad that you kept it.  Also, you have the Mitsubishi’s which are considered the “Porsche of Heat Pumps.”  Most people drive Fords and with those lower end heat pumps, their bills will be even higher, especially when the weather gets colder.

My roommate from college experienced the exact same thing at his house in Eastchester after he renovated it and added heat pumps and a ton of insulation.  He is a Carrier engineer so the system was optimized when it was installed and that still didn’t help.  Fortunately, he kept his house as a duel “fuel” and he switched back to gas.  He just uses them for air conditioning.   If you read my paper about Lansing where a heat pump salesman did the engineering study for Tompkins County, near the airport they are forcing commercial businesses with demand charges onto heat pumps.  If you have one cold day in May where the heat pumps run for 30 minutes, you’re screwed on your bill for the entire month.  Ithaca usually has at least one cold day in May.

This is one of the dirty little secrets that no one is talking about.  You spend a bunch of extra money doing the conversion above what just a replacement gas unit would have cost, that the state is forcing you into,  and then you get hammered on the back end with higher utility bills for no holistic carbon improvement.  And that goes on in perpetuity.  

The state already has 1.2 million utility customers $1.8 billion in arrears.  What is going to happen to them with these conversions.

If you read the Con Ed paperwork promoting heat pumps, the distinct impression that it leaves is that your bill will go down.

If you got all of the way to the Q&A section of the video, a member of the audience said, paraphrased, “I used to be a securities attorney and if anyone sold equities the way that the state is pushing this plan, they would be in jail.”

On another note, I was watching the news about COP 28 and everyone is excited that they put fossil fuel reduction into the agreement and that even the Middle Eastern Oil producers agreed to it.  The reality is that the agreement will do absolutely nothing and the oil producing countries know that.  It has no enforcement mechanisms and no dates with numbers listed. China and the third world will keep adding coal combustion.  Further, the oil producing countries know that math is on their side.  With only 3.6% of the worlds energy produced by solar, wind, and bio-mass, they know that any radical reductions in fossil fuel use will occur long after they are dead.

Math can be a real downer but until someone finds a better system, we’re stuck with it.

Oh, wait!  After the knowledgeable people on Monday’s first PSC panel delivered the sobering news about the CLCPA, the second panel on Climate justice just ignored it and said that we should move faster.  No explanation of where the labor, money, and material was going to come from but if you stick your head in the sand and drink the Kool Aid,  22 GW of magic dispatchable carbon free generation will be available, Heat pumps are cheaper and more efficient, 12 GW of Off shore wind will be operational by 2030  and the energy cost will be lower than our current costs, despite no installation ships being available, and 62 GW of solar arrays, twelve times what has been installed to date, will be operational in 17 years.  Plus, the sun over NY State will magically shine brighter so that they operate with a capacity factor of 0.22, 70% higher than what they actually operate at.  These people have watched too many Disney Princess movies.



Let’s put aside all of the GHG savings BS for a second because you and I know there isn’t any.

Over the past few months, I’ve been doing a gut rehab on my house.  I’m installing two completely redundant heating systems – multi-zone air-source heat pumps and a high efficiency boiler.  I had to replace the air conditioning system and I liked the variable speed design of the Mitsubishi heat pumps, so I figured what the hell… why not just have the heat pumps as backup?  

Having installed those heat pumps has turned out to be very helpful with the renovation, since I’m replacing the existing hot water convectors with hot water radiant zones – I’ve been using the heat pumps in those areas while doing the hot water conversion.  

All good, right?  At least until I got my National Grid bill… twice as much as usual!  Digging a bit deeper, my average electric unit cost last month (including supply and delivery) was $0.20/kWh, and my average natural gas unit cost (also both supply and delivery) was $0.81/therm.  With an average temperature last month 37.4 degF, my typical heat pump COP was roughly 3.1.  So for each 100,000 BTU of HP heat, I paid $1.89.  By comparison, my boiler operates at 95% AFUE, so each 100,000 BTU of boiler heat is only costing me $0.85, or less than half…  

How exactly is this supposed to be affordable?  And let’s not even discuss comfort… there’s absolutely no comparison between hot air distribution and radiant floors!


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