Each heat pump project undertaken by the Juneau Carbon Offset Fund must fall within a reasonable range of costs while eliminating an expeced volume of oil for that cost. One important area of cost concern is a home’s electrical panel. Depending on the type, age, and space available, or not, in the panel, the electrical portion of a heat pump installation can be ‘average’ or ‘way above average.’ In the case of the latter, the Juneau Carbon Offset Fund would need to defer the electrical work to the homeowner and sadly have to reject the application.

Needless to say, once the panel work had been taken care of and the panel moved into a ready state, the home could again be in the running for a heat pump via this program. Take a look below at three different situations and take a look at your own panel. There are others, so your may not look like one of these. Make sure to send an image of your home’s panel with your application information after your initial application has been approved.

Thanks to Richard Hayes of Southeast Electric ((907) 790-2949) for the following photos and panel analyses.

Full panel
Full Panel
Zinsco Panel
Zinsco Panel
Good Panel

Full Panel – If you look at the breakers installed in this panel, there are already a number of tandem breakers installed along with double pole breakers. Neither of these style breakers make it possible to consolidate electrical circuits to make room for the added requirements of a heat pump. Also, there is a caution sticker at the bottom of the panel. This sticker often indicates that there is no bussing behind the knockouts. This means that is may appear that you have sufficient room for the needed breakers but there is in fact no concessions for installing breakers behind the panel cover. End result, added expenses which could price the project out an acceptable range for the Carbon Offset Fund.

Zinsco Panel – These breakers are no longer available and the breakers that you can find are not typically UL listed for installation due to the safety concerns that accompany this panel manufacture. If the panel looks like this one, a panel replacement would be necessary in order to add any circuitry for a heat pump installation. End result, greatly elevated cost, which could price the project out an acceptable range for the Carbon Offset Fund.

Good Panel – Plenty of space, well labeled, in good repair. Even if this panel were full of breakers, there is plenty of room for the installation of tandem breakers to consolidate the circuits and make more room. End result, happy homeowner and a greater likelihood of your application moving through the process cleanly.