Century-old inventor of air conditioner is moving on to home heat pump →

More heat pumps in the news, this time on CNBC.

Although heat pumps have become popular for air conditioning in southern states, Maine has the highest rate of adoption, installing 100,000 units in households two years ahead of schedule and aiming to hook up another 175,000 by 2027. That dispels the notion, often promulgated by the oil and gas industry and utilities, that heat pumps don’t work well in below-freezing temperatures, thus requiring a fossil-fuel furnace as backup.

I will keep fighting the “heat pumps don’t work in cold weather” crowd until I die and I will keep posting pieces that back me up.

The interview piece with CEO David Gitlin is also worth watching.

I generally like that Carrier spun off and became their own public company (again) back in 2020. David Gitlin gives me finance-guy-who-doesn’t-know-anything-else vibes. I saw the Viessmann acquisition as a way to make the stock price go up and he pretty much confirms it saying the acquisition “is all about growth”.

I’d like to see Carrier innovate. Their founder is credited for inventing modern air conditioning but they have China making their mini split heat pumps and they acquired Toshiba Carrier for their VRF. I’d like to see the company go back to its roots and innovate and not go down the path of Boeing just to increase its stock price.

How Do Heat Pumps Work? →

But what the heck is a heat pump, and how does it work? If I tell you that it transfers heat from outside on a chilly winter day to keep you toasty, you’re probably going to have even more questions—like, how can you use the cold outside to increase the temperature inside? Don’t worry, I’ll explain. There’s some cool physics involved here, so let’s get started.

This is a great, if slightly advanced, explainer on how heat pumps work.

Quilt rides heat pump heat wave with hefty $33M Series A →

Quilt says its heat pump will address those concerns, promising a sleeker design that can be installed in more places around a room than competitors’ offerings. The company has only released a teaser image so far. It looks promising, but we’ll have to wait until it unveils the finished product on May 15 to pass final judgment. The company engineered the core of the system in-house, though it’s working with a manufacturing partner to produce the units.

Design isn’t the only challenge facing traditional heat pumps. Many customers have been turned off by the way they operate. In most homes, a single mini-split (known as a “head”) handles both heating and cooling for a single room. Each head gets its own thermostat or remote, which means if someone wants to adjust the temperature for the whole house, they need to visit every room.

This is the first that I’ve heard about Quilt, but apparently they raised a seed round last year. I admire what they’re trying to do. The HVAC industry is a traditionally “non-sexy” industry where the incumbents have been stagnant for a long time, in terms of product design, marketing, and innovation.

On the flip side, D2C companies aren’t as trendy as they were 5–10 years ago. Who can remember Casper and all those mattress companies? Allbirds went public at $29 but the stock is at $0.58 today. Turns out, going direct to consumer isn’t the best strategy in some industries.

I’ll be looking forward to May 15.