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Have a “planned outage” this fall and replace your old, inefficient heat pump

September 20, 2017   By Willard Strong in Reduce The Use

Proper heat pump installation is key to energy efficiency and that’s why Santee Cooper has a list of Trade Allies that can meet a customer’s heating and cooling needs.

Santee Cooper’s job, first and foremost, is to generate reliable electric power 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at the lowest cost possible. We’ve been doing that since 1942, and today serve nearly 180,000 commercial and residential customers in Berkeley, Georgetown and Horry counties.

But just like people, the generating equipment that works hard to make that power needs a break every now and then. That’s why during the fall and spring, Santee Cooper and most other utilities have what are known as “planned outages.” They’re done when the weather is typically mild, when demand for power is relatively low. During this downtime, maintenance and needed repairs are done to generating equipment that you, the customer, depend on.

As summer officially transitions into fall on Sept. 22, milder weather and the hints of autumn might be the perfect time to consider replacing your electric heat pump with a more energy efficient model that in the long run saves you money.

The perfection of the heat pump, which occurred by the mid-1960s, put oil heat out to pasture for many Santee Cooper customers. That was fortuitous for heat pump owners when heating oil prices (and gasoline) spiked significantly in the winter of 1974.

If your heat pump is more than a decade old, it is likely a mechanical “senior citizen” and quite possibly, has entered or will soon enter the sunset of its useful life. It may have already begun to “nickel and dime you” in repairs. I think heat pumps are one of the greatest inventions of all time, particularly to those of us living in the South. It cools in the summer and heats in the winter, all with the flick of a switch. And, a heat pump does it cost effectively from an energy usage standpoint.

Based upon my own experience, there is a distinct possibility that your heat pump will conk out and be pronounced “dead” at a time of year when it is broiling or freezing outside. Then you’re in panic mode. This is where the Santee Cooper Smart Energy Loan program comes in.

Santee Cooper can help well-qualified customers pay for qualified, energy-saving improvements and renewable energy resources for your home. You can apply for energy-efficient loans ranging from $500 to $20,000 with up to 60 months to repay loans over $1,000. Our renewable-energy resource loan is up to $40,000 with up to 120 months to repay and, 100 percent financing may also be available. The annual percentage rate is typically 2.25 percent, and it can be deducted from your monthly power bill.

In addition to a heat pump, you could qualify for a heat pump water heater, solar water heater, duct improvements, insulation, weatherization, insulated doors and replacement windows. Go to for more information. But don’t procrastinate. Nice fall weather won’t last forever.