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Energy-efficient Home Incentives: Converting to  a Heat Pump

Converting to a Heat Pump: Planning in Advance Can Save You Thousands
contributed by Sustainability Advisory Group Member Julie Campbell

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) recently passed by Congress has many incentives for homeowners who want to make their homes more energy efficient. One standout incentive is the tax credits available for switching to heat pumps and hot water heat pumps. Based on your household's annual income, the savings could cover a substantial amount of the costs. In addition, converting to a heat pump instead of an AC unit will allow you to use electricity as opposed to natural gas to heat your home for much of the fall and spring months.

While transitioning from a traditional AC unit to a heat pump includes a little extra planning, that should not dissuade you. There are many knowledgeable companies working in our area that can help you achieve your goals. I recommend getting at least three estimates on the work and being very at ease with asking questions. Asking questions helps to identify possible issues before the work starts so you have a clear plan of the extent of the project and the ultimate cost.

I also advise to plan in advance. Don’t wait until your unit fails. This places you at the mercy of the HVAC company. By planning in advance, you can save thousands of dollars. We received four quotes to replace two complete HVAC systems (furnace and AC units) for our house. By the time the quotes were finalized, there was a $10,000 difference between the highest quote and the lowest quote, and the lowest quote came from a reputable company. Having the leverage of time makes the companies bargain for your business.

Below are some helpful resources to use when considering this conversion:

Rewiring America Energy Efficiency Calculator: How Much You Will Save

Consumer Reports Guide to Buying a Heat Pump

ComEd Home Heating and Cooling Discounts

White House: Clean Energy For All 

Energy Star: Federal Income Tax Credits and Incentives for Energy Efficiency

The National Resource Defense Council (NRDC)