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What You Should Know about Heat Pumps (2024)


A popular way to reduce your home’s energy bills and its carbon footprint is by switching your home heating and cooling system to a heat pump. 

This energy-efficient system provides up to three times more heat than the energy it uses. According to Energy Saver, switching to this heating system can cut your electric energy usage for heating by about 50% compared to using electric furnaces or electric baseboard heaters. This results in significant cost savings.

With the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, you can get money back when you upgrade your home by installing one.  

Tax credits are available for purchasing efficient heating and cooling equipment. Your equipment must meet certain criteria, like a high enough heat pump SEER rating. The tax credit incentives apply to equipment installed on Jan. 1, 2023, or later. In some cases, if the system meets these criteria, the homeowner can claim 30% of the installation cost, not to exceed $2,000 for this cost-effective high efficiency alternative.

In this article I’ll discuss the different types of heat pumps so you’ll know whether this energy-efficient HVAC system is right for you. 

This post is sponsored by American Standard Heating and Air Conditioning.


What Is a Heat Pump?

Don’t let the name fool you — heat pumps heat and cool homes. Heat pump technology features a heating and cooling mode. This is the main difference between heat pumps and air conditioning.

heat pump in front of a brick wall

This HVAC system heats your home by collecting heat from the air, water, or ground outside and concentrating it for use inside. Heat pump technology does double duty as a central air conditioner by collecting the heat inside your house and pumping it outside. 

During cold weather, a heat pump moves heat from the cool outdoors into your warm house. Then, during the cooling season, it moves heat from your house into the outdoors. 

With a heat pump, you can set your thermostat at a comfortable temperature because these systems transfer heat rather than generate heat. They use less energy to provide comfortable temperatures for your home. 


Types of Heat Pumps

The three main types of heat pumps are air-to-air heat pumps, geothermal, and water sources, according to Energy Saver. Each type of heat pump has its own heat pump installation requirements.

Air-to-Air

If you live in an area with below-freezing temperatures in the winter, a heat pump alone will not be enough to keep you comfortable.

Air-source heat pumps transfer heat between your house and the outside air. These are the most common type and can be used in all climates. There are also cold-climate air-source heat pumps designed specifically for cold climates.

Ductless mini-split systems are air-source heat pumps that can be installed in homes or spaces without ductwork. They’re small and offer flexibility for zoning or for heating and cooling individual rooms.

Geothermal

Geothermal or ground-source heat pumps transfer heat between your house and the ground or a nearby water source. Heat pumps work because they move heat that already exists in the ground. Geothermal heat pumps are among the most energy-efficient and comfortable heating and cooling technologies available. Installation costs are high with a geothermal heat pump, so your up-front costs may be significant.

Water Source

Absorption heat pumps are a heating mode driven by a heat source such as natural gas, propane, solar-heated water, or geothermal-heated water. They usually only make sense in homes without an electricity source. 

Related: Aermec Heat Pumps


How Do I Know if My Home Needs a Heat Pump?

Every home and homeowner has unique needs, but generally, a heat pump is right for you if your winters are mild — rarely dipping below freezing. For instance, it’s ideal for a climate like the Southeast, which has mild winters. 

Today’s Homeowner Tips

Also, if you live in an area with low electric rates, then you’re a prime candidate for one. Read our guide to the types of heaters to learn more about other heating systems that might be better suited for your home.


What’s the Difference Between a Heat Pump and a Furnace?

A furnace converts fuel (either gas or oil) into heat that’s then delivered throughout your home.

Heat pumps, on the other hand, don’t burn fuel like a furnace — they run on electricity and circulate outdoor air to warm your home during the winter.

Heat pumps don’t have to be matched with a separate heating or cooling system, so they can be a less expensive option over time.

Platinum 19 Low Profile Variable Speed Heat Pump close up on logo
Pairing a heat pump with a gas furnace capitalizes on both systems’ strengths. (3 Echoes Content Studio/AdobeStock)

What Are the Benefits of Hybrid Heating?

One of the best ways to improve a heat pump’s efficiency is to pair it with a gas furnace. This dual-fuel system is also called hybrid heating. Here’s everything you need to know.

During milder temperatures, the heat pump operates because it’s efficient. As the outdoor temperature gets colder, the system will automatically switch over to the gas furnace.  

This switching back and forth means the most efficient heating method is always used, which in turn saves on your utility bills and operating costs.

For a more detailed explanation of hybrid heating, read Hybrid Heating: How Dual-Fuel Heat Pump Systems Save Energy & Money.


American Standard Heat Pumps

If you’ve decided a heat pump is right for you, consider purchasing one from American Standard Heating and Air Conditioning.

American Standard heat pumps operate quietly, have customizable heating and humidity controls, and they offer a variety of models to best suit your needs. They run at lower speeds for longer periods than conventional systems. They have reduced noise and result in lower electricity bills.

If efficiency is your top priority, then you’ll want the AccuComfort Platinum 20 Variable Speed. It comes with AccuComfort technology that allows the multi-stage heating and cooling system to consistently adjust to run at a more efficient speed to maintain your personal level of comfort. Plus, with up to 20.00 SEER and 10HSPF, it’s both efficient and quiet. 

Is noise your main concern? The AccuComfort Platinum 19 Low Profile is American Standard’s most efficient and quiet to date. It’s specially designed to meet the noise requirements of some cities and is perfect for installations near bedrooms and outdoor living spaces.

Learn more about these heat pump models and discover more options at  americanstandardair.com.


Heat pumps offer an energy-efficient and cost-effective solution for home heating and cooling. By switching to a heat pump, you can significantly reduce your electric energy usage and lower your utility bills. The Inflation Reduction Act also makes this transition financially attractive with available tax credits for qualifying installations.

Heat pumps not only provide superior heating and cooling but also contribute to a lower carbon footprint, making them an environmentally friendly choice. I recommend you consider the specific needs of your home and your climate to determine the best type of heat pump for you.

Further Reading

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Reviewed for accuracy, cost data, industry best practices, and expert advice by Laurie Engle.



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