Replacing forced air gas furnace with heat pump?

There are a few older postings on this, but I wondered what the latest information might be.  We live in a 30 year old condo with a forced air gas furnace in the attic, and want to switch to a heat pump.  We would love advice as to what is involved (e.g., do we need an electrician involved to also run higher voltage in), and even better, who we might trust to do it for us.  We're trying to be more energy efficient and all that, our gas furnace is aging and replacing it with another gas furnace seems climate unfriendly.

Thanks a lot!

[moderator note] Here is a recent discussion about AC that recommended heat pumps: Seeking alternatives to installing central AC

Parent Replies

Parents, want to reply to this question? Sign in to post.

My family needed to replace our furnace and went with a heat pump because we expect within the lifetime of any furnace/heat pump, air conditioning would become more and more necessary due to climate change. A heat pump was cheaper than furnace+AC and is better for the environment (and our electric bills now are pretty similar to our electric+gas bills before; just be sure to let PG&E know you’ve switched to electric heat so they raise your baseline for Tier 1 electric usage). You likely will need an electrical upgrade (we didn’t because by chance we had an extra electric panel in our house that we weren’t using). We went with Lennox through Costco. Their price was a bit higher than other vendors we talked to, but we got a huge Costco credit as cash back, and their system was much bigger (other vendors quoted us for heat pumps for our whole house that are meant for just a single room, which honestly is probably sufficient in the Bay Area). In the end, I’m very happy with the decision because electrification is an important climate change mitigation, and now we have AC!

Hi Momima!  I work in the field of home efficiency and electrification and recommend checking out The Switch is On website (https://www.switchison.org/get-started) as a great resource to get started with this project -- you can look up contractors who are experienced with heat pumps and see the incentives that are available in your area.  We worked with Electrify My Home (https://www.electrifymyhome.com/) and are very happy with our system.

I switched from old gas space heating to heat pump (also replaced my water heaters and turned off the gas!!!)

Be sure you get a company that has experience with heat pumps.  The system(s) need to be designed for YOUR home layout.  I ended up with two separate systems for my 3 floor hillside house; one compressor for a mini-split ducted system for the middle floor and a wall unit for the basement.  The other compressor connects with three wall units for the top floor.  It was not cheap, but the result has been GREAT-- excellent heating, and the pleasure of having air conditioning.  Also no more outrageous gas bills.  The heat pumps are so efficient that my electricity didn't go up much. (Not true for my electric vehicle...) I used A1 Guaranteed in Sonoma. 

I just got an email from East Bay Green Home Tour about a webinar on Oct 6:

Dreaming of Air Conditioning, Replacing a Furnace, or Remodeling?

Adapt to Climate Change with a Heat Pump! 4 East Bay Neighbors Show Their Heat Pump Systems.

Register:  https://www.eventbrite.com/o/east-bay-green-home-tour-32572642533https:/...

In this free, one-hour webinar, four East Bay neighbors will show and tell you about their heat pumps: energy-efficient systems that can heat, cool, and filter indoor air. Heat pumps can help you adapt to the hotter, smokier future we are facing, while also moving you off natural gas, which drives climate change. The four homeowners – plus heat pump expert Kyle Bosworth from EcoPerformance Builders – will respond to your questions about their heat pump systems, including ducted and ductless. Brought to you by the coordinators of the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour and the Green Home Tour.