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Why We're So Hot On Heat Pumps. A Primer.


Are you confused about heat pumps? Read on for a non-technical overview.


Heat pumps have been around a long time and are the dominate technology households outside of the U.S. use for heating and cooling homes and heating water. They are far more efficient and safer

compared to traditional natural gas (methane) powered furnaces and other types of water heaters. They come in many shapes and sizes, depending upon what your lifestyle and house dictate. For space heating, they can come in a style that serves only one room or they can connect to your existing ductwork and heat or cool your entire house similarly to how a gas furnace does.


The heat pump for heating the water in your home looks a lot like your traditional water heater. The heat pump for space heating can look a lot like your furnace if it ties into your ductwork. Heat pumps for space heating also have an outside box that looks like a small A/C unit outside your house. In fact, all heat pumps for space heating automatically include A/C in their function because of how they work.


Like furnaces and water heaters, they come in different prices and sizes and various noise levels. While heat pumps tend to cost more on the front end, they are far more efficient in the long run. Every household is different as to when they recapture the up front costs in energy bill savings. For some it can be as little as a few years. For others it might take ten or more years. Buying a heat pump over a furnace is not unlike buying dual pane over single pane windows. You pay more for the dual pane windows up front, but over time they pay for themselves in reduced energy bills and comfort. There are increasingly more contractors who specialize in heat pumps as well as traditional plumbers and HVAC technicians who carry both gas-powered and heat pump appliances. Your utility company offers rebates, in some circumstances, to offset the upfront costs.


Perhaps the best reason to love a heat pump is that is does not use any methane gas, which we now know is bad for your health and about the worst greenhouse gas we can pump into the environment. For more information on how to get started on heat pumps, please contact us at info@greentownlosaltos.org and we’ll point you in the right direction.

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