From the Forum – Heat Pump Replacement Recommendations

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Heat Pump Replacement Recommendations

“I have to have my heat pump replaced and was looking for recommendations for companies that would offer a fair price and quality installation. Thanks!”

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16 Comment

  • I have not replaced a heat pump, but my building has used JC at Universal Mechanical for routine maintenance and repairs as needed of our heat pumps and would highly recommend him. He is responsive, has fair pricing, and will give you a free estimate before performing any work.
    phone: (301)633-2242

  • I’d recommend getting a couple quotes. I’m currently sitting with a quote from Frosty’s that’s competitive, and I really liked the salesman. It isn’t cheap, but I know they’ll do great work if/when I decide to replace.

    It’s also worth checking out this site…DC offers rebates if you’re installing equipment that meets certain environmental requirements and use participating contractors.

  • We haven’t had heat pump issues, but have used Montgomery Sheet Metal for other heating and cooling needs. Super nice, show up when they say they will, and the prices have been reasonable for all of the work they’ve done. They were recommended by a colleague, and I’ve recommended them to another couple who also have had really good experiences.

  • I replaced my HVAC in January of this year and I couldn’t be happier. I got a few quotes, but Brian Meredith came in under everyone else. He was fantastic to deal with and provides excellent service, and the HVAC system he installed for me has been great (very efficient, electric bills have gone down, heats/cools much more evenly, and is SO much quieter than my old system – which is important to me because my system is in a closet in my bedroom). He has also replaced 3 other units in my building this year and everyone says they have been happy.

  • I have a heat pump, and frankly it sucks. It simply cant keep the house (4bd/3.5ba) warm in the winter. Do others have success with heat pumps or are they just not that good? We have huge energy bills in winter bc we have to keep several space heaters going to make the place livable.

    • From what I was told, they are not designed for winters that get below 40/45 degrees. I had a long talk with the guy about it when I replaced mine this year because I have a small, 1 bedroom condo and I feel like my heating costs are way too high (the AC part of the system does better in the summer). Unfortunately, I can’t move to a much more efficient (and warm!) gas system because my condo building doesn’t have any gas lines.

    • This has been our exact issue. We live in a small, single story, 3 bedroom, single family, detached home that is heated/ cooled by a heat pump. It just can not keep our house warm. We’ve only been in our house for 2 winters but it seems like our options are keep the heat turned up high, freeze, and pay a crazy high energy bill or keep the heat set low, freeze, and pay a pretty high energy bill. This is my first time living with a heat pump so I’m not sure if this is just how they are or if something is really wrong with our unit or house.

      • I’d try Chris Damron of Damron Heating and Cooling. He does a lot of work on quirky DC houses and condos, and came up with a great solution for unobtrusive central heat/air in my place after others couldn’t make it work. He’s also a really nice guy (coming out on a Sunday when my old system broke unexpectedly) and pricing was more competitive than the bigger companies I tried. 301-440-2221

    • These last couple of winters have been BRUTAL for the heat pump crowd. My bills were WAY up over previous winters (where temps were in more normal ranges). When temps don’t plummet to 20+ degrees below normal, they work pretty well around these climes. When we have an entire month (almost) where the temp never gets above freezing, they’re not particularly efficient. Thing is, they’re FAR more efficient than other electric heat options, so unless you have natural gas service already, and that piped for a natural gas furnace, it’s still your most efficient option.

      • “WAY” up is about 40%. So, not just Pepco rate increases. My usage has been higher, too.
        Mine has been checked each year and given a clean bill of health. It works right and keeps my home warm (it’s possible if your system isn’t keeping your home warm that it is undersized), but just isn’t terribly efficient when we have days on days of high temps in the 20’s.

        • Ugh…one more. On very cold days, there will be *moments* that a heat pump is running but your house feels cooler than normal. As the condenser freezes over, it doesn’t draw maximum heat from the outside air. This should only last for less than 5 minutes, though, at which point your condenser should enter a thaw cycle and the auxillary heat should kick on until the condenser thaws, warming your home right back up to normal in just a minute or two. It should NOT be more than about a degree cooler than you have the thermostat set, and the “coolness” should NOT last more than 5-6 minutes. If you’re getting persistent and/or significant temps below where you have your thermostat set (and those aren’t obvious problems like the thermostat in a wonky location that is warmer than the rest of the house, drafts, etc.) and/or it’s not entering thaw cycles within a few minutes, you should have your system checked.

    • HaileUnlikely

      JoDa already covered this well. I’ll just add a couple of minor points:
      1. Not all heat pumps are created equal. Heat pumps sold today vary in efficiency by more than 50%, and the mid-range heat pumps on the market today are vastly better than all but the very top of the line ones were 10 years ago, which may be relevant if you have a heat pump that came with your house when you bought it however many years ago.
      2. The performance of my heat pump is also hindered by very poorly designed and leaky ductwork. This is not an uncommon problem.
      3. Most heat pumps, and virtually all older heat pumps, rely on the HVAC system having relatively low resistance to airflow. The place where you have the most control over resistance to airflow is your filter. Check it and clean (if reusable) or replace (if disposable) it regularly. Also note that the pleated filters with the high MERV ratings (the ones marketed as “high efficiency” filters that are supposed to be great for pet owners, smokers, allergy sufferers, etc) restrict the system’s air flow a lot, making it work a whole lot harder and also reducing the amount of heated air that reaches the living space. If you don’t need a high efficiency filter for health reasons, just use a cheapo $1 fiberglass filter and replace it every month. If you need a high efficiency filter for health reasons, this is highly relevant when getting your HVAC system installed, as you will need a system that is designed to be used with a high-efficiency filter. (Also see #2 regarding poorly designed ducts if you are ever gut renovating your home and have the opportunity to redo the ductwork).

      • Nicely said, Haile, as well. Would add, if you prefer to or need to use a high-efficiency filter (I, personally, use MERV 10 filters, as both a smoker and pet owner), just change them more frequently than recommended. They’re not too hard on the system when clean, but are a little hard on it as they approach the end of their lifecycle. I buy 3-month models and replace them every 2 months. While that is an added expense, I buy them online (about half what they cost at a retail store) and, well, it’s cheaper than the even higher energy bills, cleaning my system yearly or so because it’s full of gunk, and potentially breaking my system with the restricted airflow. But, yes, if you don’t smoke, don’t have pets, and don’t have SEVERE allergies where a little dust and pollen being stirred around would cause you terrible misery, just use something with a relatively low MERV (cheap fiberglass).
        I will also add that I was in the “thermostat in a wonky place” situation. Where it’s located is always 3 degrees cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer than my bedroom, so I would go to bed freezing (in the SUMMER) or baking (in the WINTER) and sucking up more energy than I needed to. I bought a “remote thermostat” system for ~$200 and problem solved. No wiring (except the “receiver box,” which was exactly the same as replacing a normal thermostat (it does, actually, replace your thermostat), i.e., easy and takes about 15 minutes…the remote boxes I mounted on the wall (2 screws), but they can also just be placed on a shelf or table), it remotely transmits the readings, and the remote sensors run on batteries (which last about 2 years). I now have sensors in my living room and bedroom, and just press a button to tell the system what room I’m in (default is the living room, since that sensor is basically in the middle of my house).

  • We had our heat pump for a 2BD condo replaced this summer by Cool Breeze. Had a difficult time scheduling with them but that was also in the beginning of summer…a busy time for all of the companies we talked to at the time. We were happy with the installation and the installation crew was courteous and cleaned up after themselves.

  • Definitely M&M Mechanical, 7964-H Connell Ct, PO Box 1510, Newington, VA 22122, (703) 751-1011 – Casey and Betsy answer phones.

  • saf

    I don’t know about heat pumps, but this is who I use for my a/c and my boiler. Good work, fair prices, easy scheduling. Got them from their good reviews in Consumers’ Checkbook.

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