Note: To power your home with renewable energy, see the most recent Subscription Community Solar update and 100% Renewable Electricity update.
Your monthly update from HeatSmart volunteer and Energy Navigator Gerri Wiley:
I virtually meet many people seeking to help green the New York State electricity grid, yet missing some key points on how their choice of electricity supply is so influential. The focus this month is on Community Choice Aggregation (CCA)...a powerful tool in greening the grid.
CCA (Community Choice Aggregation)
If you live in a municipality that is part of a CCA that chose 100% renewables as its default plan on behalf of residents and small businesses, make sure you are enrolled in that plan. In the Southern Tier, those municipalities are: Town of Union, Village of Owego, Village of Elmira Heights, and Village of Horseheads. Look on your NYSEG bill and/or call Constellation at 1-833-866-9637.
If you live in a municipality that is part of a CCA that chose a fossil-nuclear mix, opt up to the 100% renewable plan by calling Constellation at 1-833-866-9637. In the Southern Tier, those municipalities are: Village of Delhi, Town of Dickinson, Town of Owego, Village of Newark Valley, Village of Spencer, City of Elmira, City of Hornell, Town of Horseheads, Village of Burdett, Village of Montour Falls, and Town of Canisteo.
Why is this important? Because a CCA's ESCO must purchase New York State-generated renewable energy. The more NYS energy is purchased, the more renewable infrastructure will be built and the quicker we'll meet our goal of 70% renewable electricity here in New York.
What if I don't live in a municipality with a CCA or the price seems too high? That's ok too. You can sign up for one of the two ESCOs on my attached chart. Did I say two ESCOs? YES! I've added Clearview Energy to this month's listing because the price is right and they purchase NYS hydro-electricity to cover kWhs their NYS customers use.
So you’ve made the switch to an air-source heat pump (ASHP). Now what? Here to answer some of your most pressing air-source heat pump questions is Jon Harrod, President and founder of Snug Planet, one of our four trusted installer partners. Heat pumps operate differently than fossil fuel heating systems. We’re all used to conserving energy and reducing our heating bills by turning down the heat at night and then up again in the morning during the cold months, but did you know that it’s actually more effective to just “set it and forget it” when it comes to your heat pump? Read on to uncover this and more truths and answers to some of the most important ASHP-related questions to get the most out of your new heating and cooling system.
Why don’t you recommend setting back the temperature or programming a schedule?
Heat pumps operate most efficiently with a “set it and forget it” approach. If you are leaving your house for several days, you can set the temperature back several degrees—just remember, it may take several hours to reach your target temperature when you return, which is why it’s best to just leave it at a particular temperature to most efficiently and effectively heat or cool your home.
The temperature on my remote doesn’t match my room thermostat. Why is that?
Your heat pump senses temperature at the indoor unit itself, not at the remote. The temperature there will often be a few degrees different than the temperature where the thermostat is located. Find a setpoint at which you’re comfortable, even if it’s a few degrees different than what you’ve used in the past.
What maintenance do I need to do?
To clean the filters, first turn off the indoor unit. Pop open the front cover by pulling the tabs on either side of the unit. Remove the two filters and gently clean them using a vacuum attachment brush. Put the filters back in place, snap the front cover closed, and turn the unit back on. Depending on unit location, pets, and other dust sources, we recommend cleaning filters every 2-6 weeks, or when visibly dirty. This routine filter cleaning will prolong the life of your ASHP and improve your home’s air quality.
When should I call for professional service?
We recommend that your heat pump gets a thorough cleaning and check-up annually to maintain efficiency, longevity, and warranty coverage. All the HeatSmart installer partners offer annual maintenance contracts to keep your heat pump system running smoothly. And if anything ever doesn’t seem right, or you have any questions about your system, your installer welcomes your call!
A special thank you to Jon Harrod of Snug Planet for creating such a helpful resource for this blog post. Check out this air-source heat pump informational page, a Mitsubishi MSZ-FH Heat Pump Quick Guide and FAQ sheet, created by Snug Planet.
HeatSmart Tompkins Workforce Training Opportunity: Installing Air Source Heat Pumps Without Callbacks
During October and November, HeatSmart Tompkins and Building Performance Contractors’ Association (BPCA) of New York will build on earlier success and again offer three webinars and a hands-on workshop featuring varying topics covering air source heat pump installation guidelines, best practices, and marketing insights for selling the benefits of this leading edge technology to homeowners.
“In 2018, clean energy employment in New York increased 4.8% to nearly 159,000 workers, while increasing 2.7% nationally,” said Brian Eden, chair of HeatSmart Tompkins (Solar Tompkins). “While the pandemic has considerably slowed down clean energy projects, support from New York State for the clean energy industry and its workers will help them to bounce back.”
To address the shortage of trained heat pump installers, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has committed nearly $70 million over the next 10 years to help clean energy businesses with recruiting and training new employees, upskilling existing workers, and establishing a talent pipeline to reduce businesses cost of attracting and hiring new workers.
Join experienced contractors, entry level technicians, and those looking to expand into this emerging field to get the latest scoop on trending clean energy topics sweeping the industry. The training features regionally renowned experts.
This workforce training is offered free of charge.
For more information and to enroll, go to heatsmarttompkins.org/workforcetraining.
Schedule of programs:
Wednesday, October 14 | 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Webinar #1: Why Every Home WILL Eventually Need a Heat Pump
Wednesday, October 21 | 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Webinar #2: The Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) as an Integral Part of an Energy Efficient and Comfortable Home.
Wednesday, October 28 | 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Webinar #3: Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) Installation Without Call-backs
Saturday, November 7 | 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
Location in Ithaca, NY: Address provided after registration
Hands-on Training Event; Strategic Installation “Best Practice” Guidelines for Air Source Heat Pumps. Note the hands-on training is limited to 8 participants. An additional training in downstate New York is being considered.