Economy Aug 17, 2022 at 3:37 pm

Heat Pumps are the Solution to Our Hotter and Hotter Summers

Biden wants you to buy this machine... Charles Mudede



"Under these excessive conditions . . ."

It's currently 85 degrees with low humidity, blue skies, and a light breeze. Take it easy with the hyperbole.


So, some simple methods that work:

you can get a single room air conditioner (electric) for around $100. This will work quite well for the rare hot days.

electric heat pump water heater - you generally have to replace water heaters every 7-22 years, so this is ok. Consider getting a smaller on demand one. It's not that different.

If you do get an electric heat pump for heating and cooling, it's about $1500-$2500 for most four story condos/townhomes, a lot of THAT COST is the CITY PERMIT (which the Mayor could CHANGE).

Wiring. Just get a new panel, at the same time that you get the new electric heat pump and electric water heater. Much cheaper that way.

If you rent, and pay for electricity, just buy Green Up program solar panels. They run around $150 per unit (a solar panel), and are located on large buildings around the city. This allows City Light to power the Zoo, Aquarium, and low income housing townhomes. Plus, when you move within Seattle City Light area, the credits follow you. This way you don't have to rewire and don't have to make sure your roof can handle the load.

As to the electric induction stove and electric dryer and electric washer and electric dishwasher - I've found the German models are much cheaper and last longer. Get the 2nd cheapest one.

They all save TONS on your utility bills.


Our home in eastern WA had a very elderly GE electric furnace, and an almost as old Carrier AC. The local PUD gave us $1200 towards a heat pump, and BPA chipped in another $800. Our already low electric bills are nearly half as much as before.

Here in Seattle, we invested in an attic fan and a window AC. It's served us great for almost a decade now. When it gets unbearably hot we just head to the basement.


Also, I hope that Our Dear Charles' price for a heat pump and heating oil tank decommissioning was a typo. Heat pumps shouldn't cost more than around 10k, and decommissioning an in-ground heating oil tank shouldn't cost any more than 1k (especially if you get credit for any remaining fuel oil in the tank)

Lastly, if that is Charles' heat pump in the picture, he needs to do some vegetation trimming. Greenery loves heat pumps, because heat pumps have a lot of condensation. That greenery can kill your heat pump.


@5 I just checked. It was 17k. Sorry for the error.


Slightly off topic but what's up with the umbrella hate? Sure, anyone who habitually walks around under one in the typical Seattle mist is obviously a recent East Coast transplant (or tourist), but it's the ideal choice when you have to walk just a short distance (say, a block or two) in a downpour.


My wife and I bought a heat pump years ago. At the time, it seemed like a sensible way to heat the house. Not only is it relatively cheap (given low cost energy from the socialist Seattle City Light) but it was better for the environment. They mentioned that it could cool in the summer, but I ignored them. I always laughed at people who bought air conditioners in Seattle. Just open the windows for the handful of days that is warm.

Now, of course, I'm loving the heat pump. It has been too hot too often around here. Even the Seattle Times and Cliff Mass agrees with that. It isn't that we have much hotter records, it is that we have lots more days above, say 90 ( Yes, you can buy a horribly inefficient, inappropriate, conventional air conditioner to deal the problem, but you also buy a Hummer to go to the grocery store. If you can't afford a heat pump, get a swamp cooler. Rarely are the hot days humid.


@8 - I got two bids for a heat pump for our 1300 sf house this spring. The LOW one was $19k. Needless to say we're still using the fans.


The Pleistocene refers to the last ice age. The recent era of 10000 years of relative stability is the Holocene, its temperature stability gave humanity a chance at civilization by making agriculture possible. As mentioned, we're entered into the Antropocene era, where human activity is driving Earth behaviors.


I'm a heat pump fan but for cooling us down Nature has also given us trees. Trees shading a building can make up to a 15 degree interior temperature difference on a hot day. While the ideal time to plant is always "20 years ago" even a young sapling planted in the right spot where it blocks afternoon sun can make a difference in a couple of years. You don't need to own the land you live on to do this--with my landlord's permission, I planted a tree at my previous apartment complex.

Street tree permits are free and SDOT has species approved for different street situations, depending on the site a street tree can often significantly cool a building: and

You can get free trees from Seattle's Trees for Neighborhoods program:

Young trees in pots are also pretty inexpensive in the fall, and the smaller (& less expensive) ones are easier to get established anyway.

With climate change upon us we need to do it all, and trees provide air filtration and wildlife habitat in addition to cooling us down! I appreciate the thoughtful comments on this thread.


@5: Am I the only one who laughed at Charles calling himself a socialist...

This entire paper supports socialism yet is run on capitalist advertising dollars. Is there anything more capitalist than advertising? Been laughing about that for years.


@16 Charles is a giant troll. That's why I love him. He gets baked and writes long, rambling, pseudo-intellectual shitposts and the idiot readers think he's serious. Meanwhile he can afford a 17k heat pump. I got to give credit where credit is due. Socialism sells. You go, Charles! Milk these morons. They don't vote anyway.


who even Needs
a stupid Planet?

isn't The Rapture just
right around the corner?

unbridled capitalism'll
eat itself your progeny
and the Biosphere too

if we LET it.

that heat pump
looks a little
outta Level

Stay Cool!


Heat pumps are coming. They are the obvious economic choice for replacement of oil, natural gas or (shudder) coal heat. Electric resistance heat is far too expensive (about 3 to 4 times the cost of gas) per BTU*. But since heat pumps move heat rather than making it, they will do far better cost wise. But once one has a heat pump, one also has an air conditioner (in most cases). It's pretty much the same hardware with some added control logic. And I dare any Seattelite who has paid for a heat pump system to prove that they don't reach over and hit the "cool" button during a heat wave.

*For the time being. While we enjoy our cheap electric rates. Until the Snake River, Skagit and possibly some Columbia river dams are removed. Then you will all look back fondly at that cheap natural gas. Which Seattle is set to not let you have any more.


Holmes dear, I hate to barge into your masturbatory fantasies about dam removal, but for better or worse, none of that is ever going to happen: Not the dams on the Snake, not the dams on the Skagit, and certainly none of the dams on the Columbia.

At best - and hopefully - we will see City Light modifying Gorge Dam to allow for fish passage (which they should have done decades ago)


Catalina, I beg to differ. There is significant momentum building to remove the Snake dams (as should have happened yesterday). Even a Republican Congressman from Idaho put out an (apparently) serious proposal last year. The Skagit and Columbia dams, not so much.


@21: " I hate to barge into your masturbatory fantasies about dam removal,"

I think you misunderstand my position on this issue. It's not a fantasy, but an acknowledgement of the inevitable. As long as one side continues to nudge the political consensus in one direction and we repeatedly elect/appoint legislators and judges who are dumb enough to scarf down that dog's breakfast of bad science, it will happen. It may take generations, but they have the time and commitment.

Please wait...

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