McClaughry: Cost of heat pumps — one Vermont experience

By John McClaughry

Here’s an interesting letter that appeared in the Caledonian Record a week ago, from a man who I don’t know, Jonathan Baker of Danville. He writes this from his own experience:

“My household recently decided to be good citizens and invest in heat pumps to move away from dirty and expensive heating oil. Unfortunately, the economics are not good.

“We were charged $7,500 for the installation of a mini split [heat pump] unit rated at 1.8 ton. You need around 3 tons for a 2,000-square-foot home, so we had to get two [units].

“The good news is the units did reduce our oil usage quite a bit, probably 75 to 80 percent. However, our monthly electricity bill increased by over $300 dollars! With the astronomical installation costs, we won’t break even on these units until long after our kids have graduated from college in 17 years.

“This almost completely offsets the heating oil savings, and gives you an idea of how incredibly expensive this effort will be and also why the power companies are so eager to give you an “incentive” to install heat pumps. They will make that money back within six months.”

“You may be keen on helping the environment, but just be aware it takes a lot of green to go “green.” Don’t look down on others who can’t afford to transition away from fossil fuels

Thank you, Mr. Baker.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

18 thoughts on “McClaughry: Cost of heat pumps — one Vermont experience

  1. If you are currently heating your home with natural gas and are forced to switch to electric your heating cost will TRIPLE!!. MY COST PER CUBIC FOOT FOR NATURAL WENT DOWN! From $.6713 to .6061. Many recently built power plants use natural gas as a fuel. And BTW natural gas is NOT a fossil fuel. Not only must the bill be stopped..
    .people who have been pushing for its passage need to be investigated for collusion.

  2. By the looks of all these comments I will always heat our home with wood. Our state is being taken over by solar panels and heat pumps lobbyist. I’m married to a women where 65 degrees is unacceptable. It’s 8 degrees this morning and my house will be 80 degrees I know wood is messy that’s why they make brooms and vacuum cleaners. Wood is my choice no high electric bills and no high fuel bills. We paid 800 dollars for 8 cords for log length. And just think about if the power goes down I’ve still have heat. No brainer for me

    • We installed a Heatmaster outside furnace last fall. We updated from our old Central Boiler. We also replaced our underground line, which I think was a HUGE savings in itself. In any case…the wood we burn in this new stove is the same size you would burn in a chunk stove inside your home. Its a combustion furnace and you rarely see any smoke,,,definetley not like our old stove . I loaded it only ONCE a day for the majority of the winter. Extra wood added if it was single digits or below zero. It provided us with ALL of our hot water with the kit we added to our propane water heater, which it turns out, was taking most of our propane. We heat our huge, old farmhouse from the late 1800’s. We burnt approx. 5 cord of wood this past winter. The best investment we made in a VERY long time!!!

  3. I’m a HVAC service technician for 25 years. The big push on heat pumps in Vermont doesn’t save money if below 30 degrees outside. The only thing it does is raise your electric bill a lot and cuts down on fossil fuel usage. My advice for Vermonters is to use heat pumps for cooling and heating if above 30 degrees outside otherwise keep your fossil fuel heating system for 3 months heating in Vermont Winter climate.

  4. Got to love it when the politicians invest their own money in E.V. technology, solar technology, heat pumps then pass laws to force the use of to self profit. Heat pumps will not heat traditional home in really cold times of the winter so you still need a back up heat source. Not to mention that 24 hr service for heat pumps isn’t available in most areas and parts usually have to be ordered from manufacturer. How affordable are pellet boilers, heat pumps, solar, etc. going to be once they stop the incentives?

  5. What was the monthly delta is cost of oil/ month prior to change vs cost of elec+cost of oil after change? Of course removing the cost of elec prior to pumps. I have a larger house, and am considering pumps. 300$ would be a significant savings over my monthly oil bill now, even at 85%.

    • I put 7 heat pumps in my 3000 sq ft house. They don’t heat the house below PLUS 15 degrees. We MUST run the boiler. The pumps cost me $35,000.00. I will, never in my life time be able to break even. The wokes and liberals in VT do not tell the truth. We cannot heat with heat pumps without boiler backup. And now we’ll be paying much more for the oil we really need. At the March 27 legislature breakfast some wokie actually said “this is for the world, not the people”. Well, I thought it is of the people, by the people and for the people. The US is 4% of the world. China, India, South America, Africa do not try to eliminate carbon. We will never be able to eliminate carbon. BTW VT is 2% of the US. After 45 years, I,m giving up and looking at red states. More BTW my electric bill looks like the national debt. Thanks for listening.

  6. Eyes on Europe – the climate scam is imploding there now. France has erupted into riots. The Germans are making deals with Russia using the Arabs for cover. The Dutch have voted out woke officials and the farmers are winning the fight! The West financial implosion is the final nail to be driven into the climate hoax coffin. By the way, in Russia, eggs are $1 dollar a dozen. Those sanctions are working bigly! Also, there is an Iranian military warship sitting in a Venezuelan harbor. It is over folks. Their lies cannot stop what is coming – they know it and that is why the panic legislation is in overdrive!

  7. This foesn’t jive with my neighbor’s experience, who told me he’s on a course to spend $800 in total to heat with pumps this winter. A lot of the savings comes from the fact that each room has its own control, so he’s able to heat rooms more when he uses them, and less when he doesn’t.

    But Mr. Mclaughery, one anecdote is not research, and you should know better than publish this drivel.

    • Bob, your double standard is showing.

      If ‘one anecdote is not research’ and is, in fact, ‘drivel’, how would you characterize the simplistic reference to your ‘neighbor’s experience”?

      • A friend of mine uses a heat pump too. He says they work well until the temperature drops to 20 degrees. He heats only half of his house with the heat pump and pays more than $400 per month for electricity in winter.

        Of course, if we arbitrarily regulate oil and natural gas costs to be $4 per gallon and more, we make heat pumps arbitrarily more attractive.

  8. I wonder if all the heat pump users in Southern Vermont wrote their pro-un affordable heat standard act legislators about there effeminacy during a prolonged power outrage? I surely hope those not wanting to switch did. 2 days with no heat or electric stove and can’t charge your EV could be very detrimental to your health.

  9. Mr. Baker made a major mistake.

    He operated his heat pumps at less than 10 to 15F

    Below those temperatures, heat pumps require a lot of electricity (GMP loves that part) to provide a certain quantity of Btu/h, at exactly the same time your house requires a lot of Btu/h, because it is so cold outside

    He should have operated his oil-fired furnace at these low temperatures, because that would be less costly per hour

    Some people keep their houses at 65F or lower, to maximize their savings from heat pumps, and put up with the decrease of comfort level, just so they can brag about how much energy cost they saved.

    The alternative is to lower the temperature even more, to say 55F, and wrap yourself in a blanket. It is far less costly than heating “this olde house”

    The US is so rich in natural gas, it exports the most liquified natural gas, LNG, in the world ((other people are burning it).

    However, in its unfathomable wisdom, Vermont’s government does not allow Vermonters to burn it, unless they pay a government-imposed extortion, which it claims it will use to save the world.

    Vermont’s area is less than 0.01% of the World’s area, which is 70% water.

    I think, the Legislators have a boxful of screws lose, but they have not noticed, because they get their advice from self-serving interests, which have many lobbyists in Montpelier, because it pays for them (and the Legislators)

    • The heat pump outdoor unit has a refrigerant compressor and a large fan

      The compressor and fan have to operate at higher speeds, during colder days.

      That requires more electricity (GMP loves that part) to deliver a quantity of heat flow, Btu/h

      That inefficient operation happens at exactly the same time the house needs the most heat, because it is cold outside.

      Nothing can be done about it, no magic wand can be waved, no pie-in-the-sky promises by technical nincompoops are valid, because of the laws of physics and thermodynamics, which are a little too complicated for explaining here.

  10. As of 4:15 pm March 16th, is reporting 9556 electric power customers without service.
    Also, as of 4:00 pm, ISO New England ( is reporting that New England’s electric power needs are fueled by:
    49% Natural Gas
    26% Nuclear
    12% Renewable, of which 54% of the 12% is Wind, 10% Solar, 35% Wood, Refuse and landfill gas.
    7% NET Imports
    6% Hydro

    Everything you’ve been told about “heat pumps” by a politician or climate evangelist is a lie.
    Affordable Heat?… yeah, right. Just like Affordable Health Care.

    • Even coal has been mischaracterized. Today, it is considered to be a clean energy source. Of course, we won’t hear this via the mainstream news or academia, because these have been captured decades ago. In fact, the Chinese benefit by our buying their wind and solar equipment amongst others. In the meantime, the Chinese use coal with no restrictions while Americans can’t and are suffering job loss. Do you see what’s going on here? In the end, the Khazarian mafia/central banksters a.k.a. Rothchilds et al are using China as a cover story for their age-old Satanic criminal syndicate activity. It’s all about deception. And this is why they target children; easy prey.

    • Wood and refuse were existing before 2000; they are old “ruinables”

      No wood and refuse power plants have been built since then

      NE would need to increase imports, if the VERY DIRTY wood and refuse power plants were shut down, because of water supply, hydro is topped out, unless huge reservoirs are built, as in Quebec and Norway

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