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What is a heat pump? Here’s how the cutting-edge cooling and heating tech will save you money on your energy bill

Don’t let the name fool you — when it comes to temperature control, this baby does it all.

a heat pump is an efficient home cooling and heating system

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Are you sick of your gas furnace? Expensive AC unit driving you crazy? Well, if you’re looking for an alternative, you’re in luck. Heat pumps are an extremely cost-effective alternative to more traditional temperature control methods — and they can heat and cool your home, even though the name might suggest otherwise.

Heat pumps are amazing appliances that work by moving heat around in an energy-efficient manner instead of using a ton of energy to change the temperature, as radiators and AC units do. 

This efficiency lets you keep your home at a desired temperature at a fraction of the cost — some estimates say you can almost cut your heating bill in half by swapping to a heat pump.

How does a heat pump work?

As the Department of Energy explains, “heat pumps are able to collect heat from the air, water, or ground outside your home and concentrate it for use inside.”

When it’s summertime, heat pumps function very similarly to the AC units that you might be used to. They use electricity to move the hot air from inside your home to the outside. And when it’s cold outside, they move warmer air into your home. 

Besides being more efficient, heat pumps are also a lot better for the environment since they reduce the amount of dirty energy being burned by furnaces, thus lowering the amount of harmful carbon pollution blasted into the air. 

So why isn’t everyone jumping to get a heat pump? Well, the upfront cost of buying one can be high, costing on average $4,000 to $8,000. This dissuades many homeowners from making the switch, even if it will save them money in the long run. 

But now the government has begun to recognize that these heating/cooling powerhouses can help Americans reduce their electricity bills, all while helping the planet. That’s why the Defense Production Act has been utilized to manufacture more of them here in the United States.

With the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, getting a heat pump is easier and cheaper than ever: Homeowners purchasing a heat pump get a $2,000 tax credit, and low-income households would get a rebate for four times as much. 

While prices vary widely based on where you live, the $8,000 rebate for low-income households would definitely make lower electricity bills a reality for many Americans. 

On top of that, the act provides another half-billion dollars to boost heat pump manufacturing. 

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