My partner and I live in the northeastern part of the country, and we have to focus on keeping warm during the winter. Our weather often turns cold enough to require our heating  to start  early . Sometimes the cold weather hangs around until  April. The outside temperature will drop far below zero, and also the windchill makes it feel very much colder. I have a forced air furnace installed in our house which can handle the significant winter workload. It does, however, cost a substantial amount to operate. Although our summer months are typically short, it often gets extremely hot and humid. I have finally gotten tired of living in an overheated, sticky house. I contacted a HVAC technician about installing a central cooling system. He recommended installing an electric heat pump instead. This actually sounded ludicrous to me, since I already had a complete duct system and furnace in position. I figured he just wanted me to spend more money on a heat pump, so his commission would end up higher. The HVAC contractor explained that during the summer months the heat pump would act like a central air conditioner, and it would cost less to operate. When the weather turned cooler, the heat pump would assist the heating system until the outside temperature dropped below freezing temperatures. At that point, the heat pump would become ineffective and the furnace would automatically take over. The benefit is that the heat pump is far more power efficient than my furnace and additionally would significantly trim monthly power bills. It would also save my furnace from wear and tear, helping it to last longer. The overall cost savings of combining the heat pump with the furnace would certainly recover the investment in a short period of time.

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