Pump It Up!

Our 14-year-old gas furnace is dying, so we will continue to decarbonize our home with its replacement.  Electric heat pumps are much more efficient than gas furnaces, and another major advantage is that they provide air conditioning as well as heat in the one unit.  Since we do not have air conditioning, and since summers are getting warmer, that is a real plus! Heat pump heaters come in two varieties: ducted or ductless. Since the ducted option connects to our existing duct work, it seems a reasonable choice.  However, ductless mini-split systems are much more comfortable and flexible.  Each room has a wall-mounted head unit, and each room can be controlled separately so that rooms that you do not use often can be turned off except when you want them.  They are quiet, and keep a more constant temperature, and users say they are preferable to ducted systems. The ducted option would have had the condenser unit (the heat pump) mounted outside and a separate blower unit in place of the old furnace whereas the ductless one only has the one outdoor unit. The ducted system also requires a second 240-volt outlet for the blower. Both heat pump systems qualify for $3000 in tax credits and rebates, which partially offsets the higher purchase price.  Both systems require a 220V circuit, which you may need to add.  Nonetheless, burning fossil fuels (gas) in furnaces or water heaters is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, so we are glad we can continue to electrify our home.  Doing so at the end-of-life of your gas appliance is the most cost-effective way to do it.