There are several types of electric heating and cooling systems that when combined with MiEnergy's load management rates make electricity a safe, affordable and efficient choice. Below is a description of electric heating products. Before making a choice, contact MiEnergy for information about how these products can be installed properly so that they qualify you for load management electric rates. MiEnergy can also assist you in finding a contractor for installation of these products.
An electric plenum heater can convert your existing natural gas, propane or oil furnace into a "dual fuel" system. It gives you the ability to take advantage of low-cost load management electric rates and the flexibility to use this cost-effective heating source at any time. The plenum heater typically sits above the fossil fuel furnace and uses your existing furnace fan to move air across the plenum heater elements to heat the home.
Electric boilers heat your home by heating water that circulates through tubing installed in the floor or in hot-water baseboard heaters. Electric boilers can be zoned to heat areas of your home to different temperatures.
ETS is a technology that stores heat during off-peak hours for heating 24-hours a day and is able to utilize the cooperative's load management electric rates. Individual room-sized ETS storage units consist of specially designed bricks stored inside a cabinet. Electricity heats the bricks during off-peak hours when electric rates are low. When the thermostat calls for heat, a fan blows air across the heat storing bricks to distribute heat throughout the room. Room units are popular replacements for wood stoves or baseboard heat. A centrally-ducted ETS system is available for whole house heating. It operates under the same concept of storage as the individual units, only it provides heat throughout your home utilizing ductwork similar to forced-air furnace systems. A centrally ducted ETS system can be used as a stand-alone furnace or can be combined with a heat pump to offer even better efficiencies and lower operating costs. An optional hydronic unit can be used to provide radiant floor heating through this same system.
A heat pump is an electric device that captures the heat that occurs naturally in the air or in the ground. Heat pumps offer an energy-efficient alternative to standard furnaces and air conditioners. Like your refrigerator, heat pumps use electricity to move heat from a cool space into a warm one, making the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer. During the heating season, heat pumps move heat from the cool outdoors to your warm house; during the cooling season, the process is reversed. Because they move heat rather than generate heat, heat pumps can provide up to four times the amount of energy they consume.
Air source heat pumps. An air-source heat pump transfers heat between your house and the outside air. When properly installed it can deliver 1-1/2 to 3 times more heat energy than the electrical energy it consumes, making it very efficient and very economical to operate. During the summer, an air-source heat pump cools your home like a central air conditioning unit. However, during the cooler months it also provides heat. Most heat pumps have a balance point where supplemental heat kicks in to maintain the thermostat setting when the temperatures dip below freezing.
Ground-source heat pumps (Geothermal). A geothermal heat pump is the highest efficiency heating and cooling system available because it uses a renewable energy source: the earth. Geothermal heat pumps use the constant temperature of the earth to heat and cool. This allows the system to reach high efficiencies (above 300 percent) even during the coldest winter nights. A network of durable plastic coils are buried in the ground which absorb the earth's energy. A heat pump, connected to the coils, extracts that energy and converts it into heat. At the flip of a switch, the process can be reversed to cool your home.
Baseboard heat is an easy and inexpensive installation to heat your home or to heat areas where heat is only on when occupied. Baseboard heat allows you to adjust the thermostat setting for individual rooms. However, they must be clear of furniture to operate effectively and safely.
Cove heat is an excellent option for supplemental heat for your home or business. It has all the advantages of baseboard heat, plus more. One benefit of cove heat over baseboard heat is that it is mounted on the wall near the ceiling, allowing you to arrange your furniture any way you want.
Radiant floor heating systems are popular because they provide comfortable, even heat. The heat is distributed through tubing, electric cables or an electric mat system. Because the heat is being transferred directly from the floor to you rather than the air in the room, you can feel warm at a lower thermostat setting.