Why are heat pumps so popular right now? They use less electricity. Here’s how.

Everything you need to know about how and why heat pumps are the most energy-efficient system on the market.

Everything you need to know about how and why heat pumps are the most energy-efficient system on the market.

Heat pumps are gaining popularity. But why?

The way we’ve been keeping our homes comfortable isn’t working. It’s bad for us, and it’s bad for the planet.

The bottom line? America’s housing stock creates 20% of the country’s pollution (1). Residential heating and cooling systems emit around 441 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually (2).

It’s time to do something differently.

Enter the superhero of energy-efficient HVAC and water heating: heat pumps.

Table of contents:

Why should we reduce energy use at home?

No matter what, we all can agree: Improving air quality, increasing health, and conserving energy is good for everyone.

Moving away from burning fossil fuels to using sustainable forms of energy is one way to do this. It’s a smart move for people, animals, and the planet.

But even if you have a house that runs only on electricity, did you know that air conditioning units consume approximately 6% of the total electricity generated in the United States? 

And you might be surprised to learn that natural gas is currently the largest generator of electricity in the US (3). Plus, natural gas makes up close to 25% of the world’s energy supply (4).

Read more about this topic in Why is my gas bill so high?

The way we’ve been keeping our homes comfortable isn’t working. It’s bad for us, and it’s bad for the planet. It’s time to do something differently.

That means wasting less energy—no matter what type of energy you use—is really important. Natural gas is a finite resource, and conserving it is beneficial for the security of our energy supply.

Keeping that in mind, there’s a good reason for all this heat pump talk: Heat pumps are truly the most advanced home climate control and they can run on clean energy.

They’re the revolutionary new-and-improved HVAC appliance that’s about to change everything.

How much electricity does a heat pump use?

In the US, 51% of average household energy consumption is for heating and cooling alone (5).

Unlike their home heating and cooling counterparts of the past, heat pumps work their magic with remarkable efficiency. In fact, these eco-friendly wonders can be up to 3 times more efficient than other heating and cooling methods, according to the Department of Energy (6). 

However, the amount of electricity a heat pump consumes in your house depends on a few things, including:

  • The size of your home
  • The type of heat pump you choose (geothermal vs. air source)
  • Your local climate
  • The model, efficiency rating, and age of your heat pump 
  • Your preferred indoor temperature
  • Whether or not your home is well-insulated and air-sealed
  • If you use ductwork with your heat pump or have a ductless mini split system

Heat pumps run on electricity—an energy source that can be produced 100% pollution-free.

Why are heat pumps more efficient?

The short answer? It takes less energy to transfer heat than to create it, which makes heat pumps superior to all other central heating systems. To understand why, let’s take a quick look at how furnaces and boilers create heat.

Traditional furnaces utilize an energy source—electricity, heating oil, propane, or natural gas—to heat up a component known as a heat exchanger. The warm air is then blown across and distributed throughout the house via ductwork.

On the other hand, boilers operate differently; they use electricity, propane, gas, or oil to heat water until it transforms into steam.

Whether you use a boiler or a furnace in your house, the fundamental principle remains the same: They utilize some form of energy to produce heat.

So here’s where heat pumps really shine: They can cool your home, too—just like an air conditioner.

Air conditioning systems use advanced technology. They function by transferring the heat energy out of your home via a refrigerant.

Once the heat energy has been trapped and is no longer present in the air, your house becomes cooler.

In this process, the liquid refrigerant goes back into a device known as a compressor, where it releases the captured heat into the outdoors.

Subsequently, the entire cycle starts again.

Essentially, air conditioners function by transferring the heat from inside your house to the outside air. But they cannot heat your home.

Heat pumps work similarly to modern air conditioning systems—with one big difference. They can reverse this process in cold climates.

Heat pumps work like air conditioners, but it’s as if they went to graduate school for advanced degrees—because they can heat your home too.

During the winter, heat pumps extract heat energy from the outside and bring it inside your house (yes, there is heat energy in the atmosphere during cold weather months). Conversely, during the summer, they reverse the process by moving the heat from inside to the outside (just like conventional AC).

To get a deeper look at conventional HVAC systems vs. high-efficiency, cold-climate heat pumps, we recommend reading:

Why is heat pump technology so promising?

The genius of heat pumps lies in their ability to operate in both heating and cooling modes, as well as in all seasons.

That means that a heat pump system can completely replace your heating and cooling systems.

It can help you convert from oil heat or switch from natural gas to have a cleaner, greener home. It’ll also filter your air and expertly maintain a comfortable humidity level. 

Heat pump HVAC systems have the ability to remove moisture from your home during the summer months, while avoiding that “dry air” feeling during the winter, unlike a gas furnace.

(Yes, you read that right. Heat pump cooling and heat pump dehumidification are top-notch ways to stay comfortable and use less energy. And yes, air-source heat pumps work excellently in cold weather.)

To gain a better understanding, watch the informative video provided below.

Why do heat pumps save energy?

Heat pumps operate on a brilliant principle of heat transfer—and that’s why they save more energy than conventional heating and cooling systems.

Heat pumps leverage the basic principle of “nature seeking equilibrium” by moving heat rather than generating it from scratch.

In the summer, they extract heat from inside your home and release it outside, providing refreshing, cool air in the process. In the winter, they work their magic in reverse, capturing heat from the outside and delivering cozy warmth indoors.

Now, here’s the kicker: Moving heat requires significantly less energy compared to producing it.

And creating something brand-new from scratch (like a brand-new car) takes significantly more work than moving something from Point A to Point B (like buying a pre-made new car and simply driving it home).

Heat pumps are driving heat energy around, instead of building warm air or cool air from scratch. That means they use less energy to keep you perfectly comfortable.

By capitalizing on this energy-efficient process, heat pumps can cut your energy use while reducing your carbon footprint.

Basically, they’re a life upgrade.

When you choose a heat pump, you’re investing in a powerful solution that works tirelessly behind the scenes to create a comfortable, healthy, and enjoyable home. 

And at Sealed, we’ve seen homeowners cut up to 50% of their home’s energy waste when pairing heat pumps with insulation and air sealing upgrades.

It’s a win-win situation for both your comfort, the planet, and our energy grid: And that’s just one of the many reasons there are new federally-funded heat pump tax credits and rebates.

But wait, there’s more! Heat pumps go the extra mile in energy conservation.

How does a heat pump save energy?

Our modern heat pump models boast variable speed compressors, which adapt their operation to match your heating or cooling needs precisely. This means they only consume the energy necessary to maintain your desired comfort level, avoiding unnecessary energy waste.

On moderate days, a heat pump doesn’t need to run its compressor at full speed, so it doesn’t. It can vary the speed at which it runs, which means it uses only the energy it needs.

Compare this with standard HVAC systems, most of which have two-stage compressors (which have only two levels of energy usage) or even one-stage compressors (which simply turn on and off).

So with a heat pump upgrade, you can embrace the future of efficient home climate control and revel in the satisfaction of conserving energy without compromising on comfort.

And keep in mind that heat pumps run on electricity—an energy source that can be produced 100% pollution-free. That’s going to be a big deal as the US transitions to better, cleaner ways of generating electricity.

The case for installing a heat pump in your home

Let’s pivot a bit.

Making decisions about home upgrades can be quite the task. But there’s a strong case to switch.

  • First, say goodbye to the hassle of managing separate systems. Many homes use a combo of window AC units, central air conditioners, space heaters, and furnaces to stay comfortable. Embrace the convenience of a single, efficient system that keeps you feeling great year round.
  • Next, let’s dive into the world of energy savings. Picture this: Imagine significantly reducing your energy bills while keeping your home at the perfect temperature. Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it? Well, that’s precisely what a heat pump offers. Consider it a long-term investment in your comfort, your home’s value, and the environment.
  • Lastly, let’s consider the benefits of cleaner outdoor air. Heat pumps produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional heating and cooling systems, reducing your home’s carbon footprint. It’s a small change with a big impact—a step toward a greener future tomorrow and cleaner air for your community today.

But for a new idea to work—like broad heat pump adoption—it has to work for real people, and while we’ve talked a lot about why heat pumps are energy efficient, we haven’t talked about another important factor that often gets overlooked: Traditional HVAC systems often just don’t work well.

Switching to a heat pump is a small change with a big impact—a step toward a greener future tomorrow and cleaner air today.

Sealed exists because people aren’t happy with the comfort level in their homes.

Every day we receive numerous calls from individuals who are in desperate need of finding a solution to make their stuffy rooms or drafty house more comfortable. And it’s not because they’re turning off their HVAC system to save energy. In fact, most of them are already spending a substantial amount on their energy bills.

The problem lies in the fact that energy costs are rising across the country, and at the same time many people still feel uncomfortable in their homes—despite running their air conditioning or heaters throughout the day.

The truth is, the majority of us are spending a lot on energy but receiving very little in return.

But why?

Many homes in America, particularly older ones, lack proper insulation and air sealing. In fact, 85% of single-family homes in the US were built without energy efficiency in mind.

Additionally, attics often remain under-insulated—especially hidden ones!—making the issue worse.

Proper insulation and air sealing are important and should be addressed in any responsible HVAC strategy. (Never heard of air sealing? Tap here for the Definitive guide to air sealing your home.)

Why don’t more people install heat pumps if they’re the most energy-efficient HVAC system?

The biggest hurdle to installing a heat pump is the price tag, including the installation costs.

In the past, many types of heat pumps have been out of reach for homeowners. (Geothermal heat pumps have routinely been the most expensive to install). But with technology advancements in cold-climate air-source heat pump models, increased tax incentives, and new ways to pay for them, they’re becoming more accessible.

Plus, we believe in the benefits of heat pump HVAC and heat pump water heaters so much, we came up with a new way to get one.

With Sealed, you can get a high-performance heat pump system, along with insulation and air sealing (if you need them) at no upfront cost. We work with the best of the best in your area to expertly install your home energy upgrades—with guaranteed energy savings if you qualify.

Heat pumps are the technology of the future

The world is changing, and heat pumps are the technology of the future.

With new heat pump tax credits and rebates available, now’s the perfect moment to make the switch.

Heat pump installations are on the rise worldwide; in the United States alone, heat pump sales account for more than 40% of new single-family homes (7). Additionally, in 2022, heat pump sales exceeded gas furnaces for the first time ever (8).

Heat pumps are already well-loved in Japan, Sweden, and New Zealand (9). And they’re even used in famous buildings like Buckingham Palace.

The future looks bright.

Mother holding son looking out a window.
Switching to heat pump technology won’t immediately solve all the world’s challenges, but it’ll certainly make your home more comfortable.

That said, we still have a long way to go.

Studies show that if heat pumps were installed in all suitable locations, they could meet up to 90% of the world’s requirements for heating and cooling. (That’s a lot of energy conserved.)

The sooner we can convert to heat pumps, the quicker we can reduce carbon emissions. (For a closer look, check out this article where Sealed president Andy Frank explains how this already-existing technology can help us reach a more sustainable future—and sooner.)

Switching to heat pump technology won’t immediately solve all the world’s challenges, but it’ll certainly make your home more comfortable.

How to join the heat pump revolution (in a way that doesn’t hurt your bank account)

All-in on heat pumps? So are we.

Heat pump installations are complex, and making sure it’s done right the first time can be a headache.

But we love this stuff. So we’ll do it for you. Here’s how:

  1. We make your home energy upgrade process hassle-free—including flexible payment options.
  2. We vet the best contractors in your area, and match you with the right one based on their expertise and the unique needs of your house.
  3. We meticulously research what rebates your project might be eligible for, even submitting rebate paperwork on your behalf.
  4. You get to sit back and enjoy hassle-free home upgrades that make your house feel better year round while showing off your cool new heat pump to the neighborhood.

Fill out our quick questionnaire to see if your house qualifies to work with Sealed and our famous Sealed energy-savings guarantee. 

Sealed has a fantastic business plan to assist homeowners to depart from oil and gas heating systems and into the future of highly efficient HVAC electric systems. I highly recommend… Sealed as a company.

Piper B., Sealed customer
July 14, 2023