What to Know About Buying a Heat Pump in 2023

Image of a person looking at their phone by their computer. What to Know About Buying a Heat Pump in 2023.

You’ve probably been reading a lot about heat pumps lately and how more and more homes in California are starting to use them.

But is a heat pump the best solution for your Sonoma County home? Let’s find out!

Enviro Heating & Air Conditioning believes in selling and servicing eco-friendly heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) products that provide comfort, safety, and efficiency. Indoor air quality (IAQ) is an issue everyone in our state cares about, as all of us are searching for ways to lower our carbon footprint.

Want to go green? A heat pump might be your solution.

How Does a Heat Pump Work?

Heat pumps look like air conditioning units—and they work like them, running on electricity and using a refrigerant to absorb heat in your home and transfer it outdoors.

The big difference? A heat pump can reverse the flow of refrigerant to extract heat from the outdoors and transfer it into your home.

Because it transfers heat rather than generates it, a heat pump uses much less energy than a furnace or boiler. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) notes a heat pump can reduce your electricity use for heating by approximately 50 percent compared to electric resistance heating such as furnaces and baseboard heaters.

Why Are More Homes Using Heat Pumps?

California is one of several states introducing natural gas bans to help battle climate change. And while heat pumps cost more upfront than an air conditioner and furnace, they save money in the long run. Other benefits include:

  • Lower operating costs
  • Less maintenance
  • Reduces your CO2 emissions
  • Long service life
  • Provides both heating and cooling

How Popular Are Heat Pumps in the United States?

In 2022, annual sales of heat pumps in the U.S. rose above 4 million units for the first time, outpacing the sale of gas furnaces, according to the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI).

Heat pumps were traditionally more popular in the Southeast because of mild temperature conditions. But in recent years, new technology has made heat pumps a practical choice in cold weather climates. Some high-efficiency models provide superior heating even when outdoor temperatures fall below zero degrees.

Types of Heat Pumps

Enviro Heating & Air Conditioning can help you choose the best model based on your property and budget. Here are your choices:

  • Air-source heat pumps: These models are the most common, using outdoor air to heat your home. As stated above, a high-efficiency air-source heat pump can extract heat from outdoors even when temperatures fall below freezing.
  • Water-source heat pumps: These models are installed in a pond of water or reservoir, using a closed-loop system that cycles a treated liquid to extract heat from the water and transfer it to your home. The advantage over an air-source heat pump is the consistent temperature of the water.
  • Geothermal heat pumps: Also known as ground-source heat pumps, these models use an underground closed-loop system to harvest heat from below the earth’s surface, where temperatures hover consistently between 45 and 75 degrees. They are the most efficient models, and also the priciest.

How Much Can I Save on a New Heat Pump?

Beginning January 1, 2023, the 25C Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit provides a capped 30 percent tax credit for qualifying air-source heat pumps and heat pump water heaters. That means the maximum amount you can claim for either product is $2,000.

Upgrades must be to an existing home and your principal residence. New construction does not apply. Products must be in the highest efficiency Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) tier.

The 25D Clean Energy Tax Credit is uncapped and covers 30 percent of geothermal heat pumps regardless of the total cost.

The 25C tax credit extends through 2032 before it drops below 30 percent. The 25D tax credit extends through 2034. But keep in mind that equipment costs will continue to rise, making now the perfect time to determine if a heat pump is a good choice for your home.

Our team can help you find energy-saving models that meet CEE standards, while also meeting the needs of your North Bay Area home.

What About Rebates?

Rebates on heat pumps will become available through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) starting in mid-2023 or early 2024. A low-income household, for example, might qualify for up to $8,000 in rebates toward a new heat pump.

But the rebates are based on household income and vary from state to state. The tax credits, on the other hand, are now in place and will continue over the next decade.

Ductless or Ducted?

Heat pumps offer greater flexibility than furnaces. You can install a heat pump in a home with air ducts—or go ductless! Older homes without ductwork are perfect candidates for ductless heat pumps, also known as mini splits.

Are you adding a new room to your home but don’t want to extend the air ducts? You can install a ductless system for one location while using your furnace and air conditioning for the rest of your home.

Learn More About Heat Pumps Today

Let Enviro Heating and Air Conditioning help you decide the best heat pump for your Petaluma, CA, home. Call us today at 707-795-7219 or request service online.