Column: Heat pumps offer efficiency, tax savings


Commentary by Amanda Cross

When it’s time to replace your gas furnace, you might consider choosing a heat pump. I talked with Jim Grimes, a Carmel resident who recently installed a heat pump, about his experience.

A heat pump is an environmentally friendly appliance that replaces both your furnace and air conditioner. When it’s hot out, it acts like an air conditioner, making the indoors cooler and expelling heat outside. When it’s cold out, the heat pump does the same but in reverse. This is three-to-five times more efficient than an electric or gas furnace.

“We’ve been really happy with ours,” Grimes told me. He installed a cold climate heat pump that doesn’t require any backup heating elements until the temperature outside drops below 5° F. “For our house, it’s actually a more even heat because it runs more constantly but it doesn’t run as hard. Even when it was really, really cold, like below zero for a week in January, our house was completely comfortable.”

The Inflation Reduction Act includes a tax rebate of up to $2,000 for replacing a gas furnace with a heat pump. Grimes installed his last year, along with upgrading his insulation, and he says he’s already received his rebate for both projects.

Not every HVAC company sells and installs heat pumps. To find someone to install the heat pump, Grimes first researched manufacturers to find the product he wanted. Then he used the manufacturer’s website to find a local installer.

“It’s still new enough that a lot of them are not selling heat pumps, or, out of a lack of knowledge, they’ll try to steer you away from a heat pump,” Grimes explained. In the past, heat pumps were not advanced enough to warm a house when outdoor temperatures fell below freezing, but the technology has come a long way.

“Green technology can give you long-term savings, but it has high up-front costs compared to fossil-fuel appliances that do the same thing. But that’s the value of the Inflation Reduction Act: it helps you with those up-front costs,” Grimes said.

Plus, the project has reduced his household carbon emissions by 32 percent.

Amanda Cross is a board member with Carmel Green Initiative, Inc. Learn more and contact the organization at