February 12, 2019
Heat pumps are a cost-effective heating and cooling option in all areas of the American West and Southwest, including Northern California. Unlike an air conditioner, which uses heat pump technology to provide cooling only, a heat pump can provide efficient cooling and heating.
While heat pump technology is constantly improving, current models are much more efficient than they were just 5 years ago. If you are looking to reduce your heating and cooling costs, an energy-efficient heat pump may be the right choice for you.
Compared to traditional fuel-based heating systems, heat pumps offer a number of benefits:
Heat pumps can be cheaper to install and reduce heating costs compared to fuel-based and electric-resistance heating. Heat pumps traditionally have lower installation costs compared with a separate gas furnace and central air conditioner, but if you are retrofitting an old gas furnace and air conditioning system, it may not be as cost-effective. That’s why you should speak with a qualified technician to go over the cost benefit analysis of a heat pump retrofit.
According to the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, heat pumps will reduce annual heating costs if the ratio of the residential electricity price to the natural gas price is no more than about 3.2. “This assumes an average coefficient of performance (COP) for the heat pump of 2.7 and annual efficiency of the gas furnace of 95 percent.”
The biggest drawback to having a heat pump is its increasing inefficiency, the colder the outdoor temperature gets. Heat pump efficiency varies according to the external temperature (learn how a heat pump works in winter).
That’s why you won’t see a lot of homeowners relying on heat pumps in places like Chicago and Detroit. In colder environments, homeowners often choose a hybrid or supplemental heating system to make up for heat pump inefficiencies in extremely cold weather. On the other hand, heat pump technology has improved so much that they are now more practical and cost-effective in colder areas of the country as well.
While natural gas is by far the most common type of fuel for both space and water heating, heat pumps have proven themselves to be cheaper to install and more energy-efficient.
Some states, such as California, have developed incentive programs to promote heat pumps. Heat pump availability and prices will vary widely depending on where you are. Ask a Champion to find out what heat pump options and incentives are available to residents in Northern California.
Contact us today for a FREE in-home heat pump estimate: