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Hallowell International and Acadia Heat Pump Resources

Acadia heat pump

Updated Apr. 5, 2017

Duane Hallowell and five business partners founded Hallowell International in 2005 to market a residential heat pump that could heat and cool homes efficiently at temperatures as low as -30° F. Unfortunately, the company went out of business in 2011, as complaints of technical failures mounted. With the company's collapse, the thousands of homeowners relying on Hallowell to provide technical support for heat pumps were left largely without support.

Contents:

A History of Hallowell International and the Acadia Heat Pump

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The first version of what later came to be known as the Acadia heat pump was the Cold Climate Heat Pump™, made by Nyle Special Products of Brewer, ME. Duane Hallowell was the General Manager at Nyle until a few months before he founded Hallowell in 2005. This marked the beginning of a contentious relationship between the two companies.

In 2006 the city of Bangor, ME provided Hallowell International with two $100,000 community development loans. One was used to secure a lease on a city building and the other half was used to acquire machinery, equipment and for working capital.

In the Spring of 2007, Hallowell released the All Climate Heat Pump (commonly known as the ACHP). That fall the company renamed the unit the Acadia™. The ACHP differed from the Acadia in several ways, the most significant of which was that the ACHP did not contain the problematic starting circuit that likely caused the failure of so many Acadia units.

In December of 2007, the EnergyIdeas Clearinghouse, a a technical assistance service for businesses and utilities, concluded:

The Acadia heat pump shows promise to fill a market niche for a heat pump for colder climates. It ... [seems] to have superior performance at lower temperatures without having to resort to backup resistance heating required by other air source systems....
source

By 2008 the company employed 40 people and had sold 1,600 heat pumps. Later that year the company reported that it owned 37 patents on the techniques used in their heat pumps. (In the same year the company resolved a patent dispute out of court with Nyle over some of the company's heat pump technology).

In 2010, Mr. Hallowell reported that they had developed a network of 8,000 dealers across 38 US states and all Canadian provinces. Several sources reported that the company had sold a total of about 3,000 heat pumps. The average price of one of the heat pumps, installed, varied between USD $10,000 to $15,000. However, the company's suffered a setback in 2010 when it failed to acquire funding under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

Complaints about Acadia units began to appear on forums in 2009. Some of those complaints appear to be responses to installation errors, while others appeared to stem from a design flaw in the Acadia. Up through 2010 forum posts often gave glowing reviews of Hallowell's customer and technical support teams, even while expressing frustration at the problems themselves.

By the beginning of 2011, homeowners posting on forums began to report that they could not reach technical support at Hallowell. In February of 2011 the Bangor Daily News reported that the company had downsized to three full-time employees and was hoping to find an investor or a buyer. In May the city confirmed that Hallowell was out of business, and that an auction of assets was scheduled for June.

What Went Wrong

SaveMyAcadia.org provides the following explanation of the problems with the Acadia heat pumps:

The major failures were associated with a flawed starting circuit that has been redesigned and extensively tested for reliability. This flawed circuit was not present in the ACHP - an earlier version of the Acadia. In addition - there have been widespread reports of improper de-icing, and various erratic heat mode problems. We believe that the core cause of these issues was a combination of inferior temperature sensors, some poor installation procedures for these sensors, and perhaps a connector problem inhibiting their proper connection to the PCB board which runs the Acadia.
Source: http://www.savemyacadia.org/site/index.php?page=about

Contractors Trained by Hallowell

If you have problems with your Acadia heat pump, your first step is to find a contractor that has experience working with these units. The contractors below were either listed on Hallowell's website, mentioned in the SaveMyAcadia.org forums, or have pages advertising the Acadia on their company website. However, be aware that you may need to talk with several contractors before you find one that is willing to work with you.

While any licensed heating contractor with experience working on heat pumps should be able to service most issues with Acadia equipment, please refer them to SaveMyAcadia.org as the site documents fixes that are specific to the Acadia.

Contractors in Canada

Manitoba

New Brunswick

Nova Scotia

Ontario

Quebec

Contractors in the United States

Connecticut

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

New Hampshire

New York

North Carolina

Ohio

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

Vermont

  • Spectrum Energy (802-356-2587)

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia

Finding Contractors through a Distributor

If you can't find a heating contractor in the previous list, you might try calling one of the distributors that used to carry Hallowell heat pumps. They may be able to put you in touch with a contractor that is familiar with the units. In 2010, Hallowell announced that they had distributors in 38 US States and every Canadian province. The distributors listed below were listed on an archived version of Hallowell's website.

Distributors in Canada

Source Atlantic is headquartered in Saint John, New Brunswick and has branches across Canada.

Wolseley Canada has branches across Canada.

Distributors in the United States

FW Webb has locations in 9 states in the Northeastern United States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Universal Supply Group has branches in 7 towns in New Jersey.

Dakota Supply Group has locations across 5 states in the Midwestern United States: Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

American Universal Supply, a division of RAL Supply Group, is located in Hicksford, NY (516-348-7750) and Elmsford, NY (914-347-3929).

RAL Supply Group has branches in 6 towns in New York.

Yaun Company has two locations in Liberty and New Paltz, NY. As of April, 2017 they have Acadia parts available -- call Burt Robertson at (845) 292-6400.

Other Resources

SaveMyAcadia.org is an excellent resource for maintaining Acadia units. This website developed out of a Google Groups community called Hallowell Acadia. However, the Google Group appears to be largely abandoned, as the most recent post is dated January of 2014.

If you're interested in reading more about the history of Hallowell International, the Bangor Daily News ran a series of articles detailing the company's rise and fall from 2008 to 2011.

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