Heat Pumps & Mini-Splits
We swapped out our ancient gas furnace for an electric ducted mini split system and got quotes from a few installers and Hassler was definitely the most expensive. We went with Kevin Armstrong who is a solo practitioner (chis ompany name is Specialized Heating and air conditioning (510) 886-5853). Kevin was recommended by the minisplit distributor company who told us that Kevin is the guy they call when people's mini split systems are installed incorrectly and Kevin fixes them. He did a great job, was inexpensive and when we had a problem several years later, he came over on a weekend and fixed it quickly. We didn't have heating ducts prior to installing the mini split, so Kevin did all that duct work. Six years later we're totally happy with what he did. (And he was probably 30% -40% less than Hassler).
Atlas heating and cooling installed our mini split system. Reliable, good communication, good work and follow up when we had a few minor issues while it was under warranty. System is working well. I think the price was fair, too.
I’m having a Mitsubishi mini-split system installed right now, for just the two upstairs bedrooms. Cheapest quote from reputable installer (Nahman) was $18k. Others ranged up to $22k. I’m having ducts installed in the ceiling (from the attic space), rather than those big wall units, which I hate. But price is not much different for either. Mini-splits do both heating and cooling, meaning I could get rid of the baseboard heaters in those rooms, which is also nice.
We've been getting estimates for a heat pump to replace our gas furnace, which would also provide cooling for "free" (the heating process is just reversed). The mini split is a heat pump for one room only - you see them in hotel rooms mounted under a window or high on the wall. They are getting more popular and easier to find. Most of the major plumbing and HVAC companies can give you an estimate to install a heat pump or mini split now. As renewable energy becomes cheaper and more available, electric heating is going to be a lot cleaner than gas, and some cities like Berkeley are starting to ban natural gas in new construction. So electric heat pumps are the way to go for the future.
The City of Berkeley recently co-hosted an online "Green House tour" of local homeowners who have installed various appliances that don't use natural gas, including heat pumps, induction cooking, clothes dryers, etc. It's really informative - there is a video of one family in Lafayette that installed mini-splits in every room along with lots of other eco features. In all the videos, the owners walk you through their house explaining what they did, and why, how much it cost, who their contractor was. There is a list of the houses here: https://www.eastbaygreenhome.com/sites - click a house to see what brands and contractors they used. To view the videos of each house, go on youtube and search "east bay green home tour"
We live in a 1500 sf house and just got our entire HVAC system replaced with heat pump system that takes advantage of the mild climate here to provide heat and cooling without relying on gas (all electric). It cost $16k, including entirely replacing the duct system in the house. Let me know if you want the name of our contractor.