The MrCool Universal Heat Pump Heats at -24 Degrees

You think heat pumps don't work in extreme winter conditions, do you? Well, we went to Grand Forks, North Dakota. That's where we are right now. It's -3 degrees outside. And the MrCool Universal heat pump is heating the home wonderfully.

So, why Grand Forks, North Dakota, you ask? Well, on average it's the coldest city in the lower 48 states. I know you think a heat pump isn't supposed to work in extremely cold conditions, but the MrCool Universal heat pump system is here to change everything you thought about heat pumps.

Grand Forks is home to the harshest winter weather. It's coldest month is January with an average high temperature of 16 degrees, and an average low of -3 degrees. The average snowfall throughout the year results in about 47 inches. The lowest temperature on record is -43 degrees. So, in other words, it gets really cold here.

The house where we installed the MrCool Universal heat pump is located just off of North 25th street. Built in 1941, the house is about 1,500 square feet, with R13 insulation in the walls and R30 insulation in the ceiling.

We replaced a gas furnace with a 2-3 ton MrCool Universal heat pump. This particular unit works as an upflow or horizontal unit. We also did not install an auxiliary heat kit so we could see how well it performed. First, the installers put in the air handler and measured the best way to connect it to the existing ductwork. Then they mounted the outdoor condenser a couple of feet off the ground to keep it away from the snow.

To connect the system, we used the MrCool Universal Quick Connect pre-charged line set. The installers didn't have to charge the system or vacuum the lines. With the lines connected and the valves open, the system was wired into the house's breaker box. Both the air handler and the condenser run off of 240 volts.

Since MrCool isn't located in North Dakota, we placed sensors in the system and in the house so we can monitor the unit remotely. For the Supply air, and the Return air, we’re using Sensor push. These sensors were placed in the ductwork and feeds information to the Sensor Push app so we can monitor the unit’s performance in real time. We also have one sensor set in the kitchen to monitor the ambient indoor temperature.

We tried to put one outside, but it froze almost immediately and wouldn’t work.

We installed a Honeywell T10 Pro Smart Thermostat, which allows us to monitor the outdoor ambient temperature based on the wifi location of the home, as well as the indoor temperature.

We are also measuring the condenser’s power by installing a Sense reader in the breaker box. This will show us how often the MrCool Universal heat pump goes through a cycle, how often it goes into defrost mode, and it’s general power usage.

Now it’s just a matter of watching the performance. I’m staying in the house for a week, and the forecast is, well, cold.

As you can see, when we select the Honeywell thermostat app, the house is maintaining 70 degrees. When I tap on the weather you can see that it’s -24 outside, and it’s basing it on the wifi here, which shows the zip code as 58203.

Now with the sense app we can check out how the weather has been performing throughout the night. You can see that it was consistently going through cycles yesterday afternoon, and then when we hit later in the evening around 10 p.m. the unit went into defrost mode, then kicked on, and has been running ever since, but it’s keeping that 70 degree temperature in the house.

Now, when we check out the Sensor Push App, we can see that the supply air is hovering around 86 degrees, and the return is about 68. The indoor ambient sensor, which is in the kitchen reads 69 degrees. The thermostat reads 70 degrees.

So, the temperature inside the house maintained 70 degrees throughout the night, which is just incredible.

If the MrCool Universal heat pump can heat in Grand Forks, North Dakota, the coldest city in the lower 48 states, it can heat anywhere.

4 comments (view/add)
  • Michael Buchanan
    Michael Buchanan
    Posted on 2/7/2020

    Does the Mr cool universal come in a ductless system?

  • Kyle
    Kyle from Ingrams
    Posted on 2/10/2020


  • Greg
    Posted on 2/25/2020

    Curious as to what the cost to operate is. Based on a casual observation of the watts -- 4500 + 200 for the air handler rounded to 4750 watts. Assuming 50 percent run time and $.15 per kwh, = about 60 kwh per day = about $8.5 per day or $250 a month?

  • Steven
    Steven from Ingrams
    Posted on 2/26/2020

    Operating costs will vary based on many different factors, such as the outdoor temperature in your area, the heat loss of your home, whether you're running the system as a 2 ton or a 3 ton, etc. As tested by the air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration institute (AHRI), the MrCool Universal Heat Pump system has an estimated national average operating cost of $1,025. Averaged out over the course of a year, it's equivalent to $85.42 per month. Obviously heating season will be higher per month and cooling season lower.

    The MrCool Universal Heat Pump system uses a DC inverter drive to allow for variable speed operation of the compressor, indoor fan, and outdoor fan motors. The watt usage you're factoring in assumes the system is running at full load 100% of the time. However, this system is more likely to run at a medium load the majority of the time and even drop down to a small load in moderate temperatures (such as spring & fall), which significantly reduces the watts.

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