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Is a Heat Pump Worth It?

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If you are in the market for a new heating or AC system, you are probably doing research on what type of system is best for you. You may have come across heat pump systems and been left wondering, “should I get a heat pump?” Heat pumps are not as common as other types of home heating and cooling systems, so if you are like most people, you may be wondering whether a heat pump is worth the money.

Here’s everything you need to know about heat pumps for your home.

How Does a Heat Pump Work?

Heating and cooling systems are a big investment for your home, so it is a good idea to understand how various systems work and whether they are right for you. A heat pump system works just like a standard air conditioner in the summer. It uses a refrigerant to take the hot air from your home and force it outside.

In the winter, the heat pump uses a similar process, but in reverse. The system takes in air from outside and mixes it with refrigerant, which absorbs the air’s heat energy. The refrigerant then evaporates before it’s pressurized and piped back into your home to warm up the air inside.

Now that you know how a heat pump works, here are some other considerations to help you make your decision. 

Are Heat Pumps Efficient? 

Heat pumps are one of the most efficient heating systems available. The devices only use electricity for power rather than for heat generation. 

Other systems that use traditional electric heat generally produce one unit of heat per one unit of electricity. Heat pumps can produce three units of heat per one unit of electricity, making them three times more efficient. 

However, not all heat pump systems are created equal. Each brand will vary in terms of its efficiency rating. Most systems are rated using the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) which you can easily find when shopping for a system.

Does a Heat Pump Save Money? 

Because heat pumps are so much more efficient at heating your home, you will see significant savings in your energy bills. Heat pumps use significantly less electricity, and households using these systems can save hundreds of dollars per year in energy costs. If you compare the energy cost of a heat pump vs. electric heat cost, there is really no competition.

Common Heat Pump Problems

While heat pumps are certainly more energy-efficient and save money on energy bills, they are not perfect. Two major problems with heat pumps are their ability to keep up in very cold weather and the cost to install them.

You May Need a Backup Heat Source

While you may have a heat pump as your sole source of heat in some climates, most HVAC companies will recommend that you have a backup heat source in very cold climates. This is because a heat pump can malfunction or become less effective at a certain outdoor temperature. 

Each system has its own rating for how cold it can be before it stops working or slows down. It is important to note that it does have to get very cold before you need to start worrying about your heat pump. For example, when most systems are -2 degrees Fahrenheit, you will still get about 87% of the unit’s output. 

Another consideration with heat pumps is the condition of your home. For example, in holder houses with less insulation, heat pumps will have to work harder to accommodate the loss of heat, impacting the system’s output in very cold weather.


If you are installing a heat pump to replace an existing system, it can be expensive. The cost to install a heat pump in an existing structure can be several times what a traditional furnace replacement would cost. 

The cost can vary widely depending on the type of heat pump and the infrastructure already in your home. In general, it is significantly less in a new construction situation vs. retrofitting an existing system. 

Do You Really Save Money with a Heat Pump?

Considering the potentially high installation cost, you may be wondering, are heat pumps worth it? There is no question that you will save money on your monthly energy bills with a heat pump system. However, since the cost to install a system varies, the question of whether you will save more money overall depends. 

Heat pumps usually last 15 to 20 years, so even if you spend thousands of dollars on the installation, you can probably justify it by the savings in your energy bills. You are also doing right by the environment when you save on energy use.

Now that you know some of the pros and cons of heat pumps, you can make an informed decision for your home and your family. If you have more questions or you’re ready to move ahead with a heat pump system, call Buric Heating and Air Conditioning today!