The Hidden Costs Of Converting Your Oil Or Gas Heating System To An Electric Heat Pump

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Many homeowners who use conventional heating systems such as boilers or furnaces are recently becoming interested in the option of installing a heat pump in their home. After all, this equipment is capable of providing both heating and cooling, delivering year-round comfort. Also, these systems are notorious for their impressive energy efficiency ratings, making them even more appealing.  Who doesn’t want to reduce their home heating and cooling costs, considering that these expenses account for a significant portion of a home’s energy consumption? However, before calling your local HVAC contractor, it is important to understand a few aspects of heat pumps first.

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Comfort Declines In Extremely Cold Temperatures

Heat pumps work well in more temperate climates. They do not have the capacity to operate in climates with extreme conditions. Therefore, for those who live in areas that have cold, frigid winters, a heat pump may not be a practical choice.

Heat pumps operate at 76% capacity at -13 degrees Fahrenheit. Consequently, their performance drops as the temperature drops below this. However, they operate at 100% capacity from 5 degrees Fahrenheit and up. Therefore, for those who reside in the New England area, a heat pump may not be the most effective home heating solution due to the characteristically cold winters.

Nothing beats the comfort of an oil, gas, or propane boiler or furnace for winter temps below zero.

image of a home in the winter

Added Expenses Of Enhancing Your Home’s Electrical System And Adding Ductwork

Many older homes, typical of the New England area, do not have a central cooling system. Many have dealt with the hot and humid summers with the use of window air conditioning units. Therefore, the installation of a heat pump can seem highly appealing.

Adding Ductwork To A Home

One aspect to consider is the fact that some heat pump models require ductwork. While this may seem trivial, it is actually a consideration that deserves weight. Installing ductwork in a home is a major construction project. Once the ductwork is in place, the homeowner will need to hire a contractor to rebuild the walls and ceilings where the ductwork was installed. This is expensive and time-consuming. Homeowners who have opted for a ductwork installation have regretted this decision. However, there is also the option to install ductless heat pumps in the home. An HVAC contractor will need to determine a few factors, such as your home’s electrical load before they can proceed.

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Updating A Home’s Electrical Capacity

Older homes have different electrical capabilities. Typically, older houses without central air conditioning will not have the electrical capacity to handle a heat pump, thus requiring an electrical system upgrade. This type of upgrade can cost between $4,000 to $7,000 for a typical home. This is based on a study from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

Furthermore, according to an article titled, “Loose Screw Economics” from, here is where it gets really interesting. “We looked at homes installing two or more multi-head heat pumps, finding an average cost of $7,065 per heat pump.” Per heat pump. “The sample size was 496 homes, nearly all of which purchased two multi-head heat pumps (just six homes installed three).” That’s two or three heat pumps at over $7,000 each, for a starting price of $14,000.

Therefore, whether you opt to install ductwork or install a ductless mini-split setup with various ductless indoor air handlers in your home, the cost will be astronomical.

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More Hidden Costs In The form Of Domestic Hot Water

If your existing heating system fuel source is oil, gas, or propane and that same fuel source is used for your home’s hot water system, you are looking at the added expense to install a heat pump hot water system if you are switching over to 100% electric power. This added cost can be as high as $4,000.

image of hot water coming out of the tap


As you can clearly see, there are hidden costs of converting your home to use only electrical power for your heating, cooling, and domestic hot water requirements. While heat pumps have their benefits, it is always best to consult with a reputable HVAC contractor to find out if this is the best option for you. Only a trained professional can determine if this is an economical move that will improve your energy efficiency and home comfort levels.

Call Townsend Energy For All Of Your Home Comfort Requirements

If you are interested in improving the comfort and efficiency of your home, call Townsend Energy today. We offer trusted heating and cooling services that are fast and affordable.

Our NATE certified technicians have the knowledge and experience to offer you effective home heating and cooling solutions. We provide superior HVAC services at reasonable prices. You can call us for HVAC repairs, installations, and system tune-ups. We can also find methods to improve your home’s energy efficiency and lower your home heating and cooling costs. Contact Townsend Energy today to schedule a free, in-home consultation. Call now!

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