The Real-Life Benefits of MRCOOL
Expensive electric bills caused by low home efficiency can be a scourge, and it hits harder when you’re already doing all you can to keep yourself afloat. That’s why in 2018, Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. began the Comprehensive Home Energy Saving Solutions (CHESS) program, an effort to improve the energy efficiency and lower electricity costs of the homes of the program’s participants. Through CHESS, AECC’s member cooperatives performed home energy audits in each participant’s home, addressing issues that lead to high energy bills, like sealing leaky ductwork and cleaning dirty HVAC systems, as well as helping them understand how their homes were inefficient and providing them with the first step toward lowering their electric bills.
While these audits were extremely helpful to many of the homeowners, some still struggled because they didn’t have central heating and air conditioning. These homes tended to be lower income. Since these people were still trying to shelter themselves from the summer heat and winter chill, they typically resorted to using highly inefficient sources of comfort, like window units and electric resistance heaters, resulting in high energy costs.
That’s where we stepped in.
CHESS in Action
AECC began CHESS with a free pilot program that involved 13 participants. Almost instantly, members felt the benefits of our DIY ductless mini-split. A DIY mini-split placed in the main living area of a home that previously relied on window units and space heaters helped reduce the home’s yearly energy usage by a 17% average. That spells highly appreciated savings for these homeowners.
The primary unit used in CHESS was the DIY ductless mini-split, which is a home comfort solution designed to deliver comfort exactly where you want it to be. The system can be installed without the assistance of an HVAC professional, making it extremely cost-effective, as hiring a contractor can get expensive quickly. This is all possible thanks to the DIY’s pre-charged line sets, which allow homeowners to essentially plug the line set directly into the fittings of the air handler and condenser without requiring special tools or equipment. This simplified installation translates to hundreds of dollars saved by the homeowner.
As AECC’s program continued, the offer was extended to those willing to pay a portion of the mini-split’s cost, usually around $400 to $500, with the rest of the cost covered by the co-op. For members who didn’t qualify under the restrictions of the original program – for example, those who had central heating and cooling yet wanted the DIY to cover an additional room – units were offered at a discounted rate. The pilot program only lasted from January 1 to December 31, 2021, but AECC has decided to reopen and broaden it in the future and offer a dollar allowance that can be used toward units and/or installation costs.
By the end of the program, 12 DIY 12k’s, eight DIY 18k’s, and eight DIY 24k’s were installed. Five DIY multi-zone systems and 12 2-3 ton Universal heat pump central split systems were also installed. In all, 45 homes are now seeing the benefits of the efficient power of MRCOOL.
Remarkable Reviews and Results
Don’t believe us? Here’s what the participants of the program had to say:
“I wish I would have installed one sooner! It’s saving me money, keeping me comfortable, it’s very quiet, and easy to use. I would absolutely recommend it!” – Mark F.
James S. is “tickled to death with it!” He says that “it saved [his] butt this winter when [he] had issues with [his] gas unit.” He went on to say that “it keeps the home more comfortable and takes away humidity really well.”
“This thing is awesome! I’d highly recommend.” – Bradley R.
AECC said, “We are very pleased with MRCOOL’s mini-split heat pumps. They were a great addition to our energy efficiency program, and they have been very well received by our end-of-the-line members. The units are easy to install, have great energy efficiency and also add comfort and other benefits to our members.”
Once the program ended, the participants were asked how they would rate the unit after one year of use. The mini-splits earned a 9.7 out of 10, and 100% of the participants said they would recommend the product to family and friends!
Beyond energy savings, 80% said their favorite feature was the drastic increase in comfort over their window units and space heaters; the other 20% said it was their favorite aspect was the mini-split’s quietness and ease of operation.
We’re honored that Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. chose our mini-splits for this pilot program, as it gave us the opportunity to help homes that needed a little extra assistance with energy efficiency. We couldn’t be happier with how pleased the participants were with their systems, and we hope to improve the energy efficiency of even more homes throughout the cooperative!