In New York State, conventional heating and cooling systems are responsible for 37 percent of energy consumption and 32 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. Clean heating and cooling technologies, such as heat pumps, are making it possible for homes to stay comfortable year round, save energy, and reduce their carbon footprints.

Heat pumps are two to four times as efficient as conventional oil, propane, or electric resistance heating, and ground source heat pumps provide cooling much more efficiently than other cooling systems. They are also a safer and healthier choice for homes, with no combustion of fossil fuels, fuel storage, or carbon monoxide emissions.

Heat Pump Options

There are two primary types of heat pumps sold today—air source and ground source heat pumps. When buying or replacing your heat pump, always look for ENERGY STAR® certified heat pumps, which are more energy efficient than other options. In addition, the Coefficient of Performance (COP), Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER), and Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) can help determine which option or model will be the most energy efficient. The higher the rating, the more efficient the heat pump will be.

If purchasing a heat pump, you may also be eligible to receive a tax credit and/or a financial incentive. Visit NYSERDA’s Air Source Heat Pump and Ground Source Heat Pump program pages to learn more. Your utility may also offer additional incentives and reduced electric rates.

Performance and life expectancy of these systems are dependent upon installation, location, fuel, maintenance, and occupant behavior.

Air Source Heat Pumps Ground Source Heat Pumps
Central Systems (Ducted) Ductless Mini-Split Systems
Overview Central systems connect to a single indoor unit (often a furnace), pushing air through a series of ducts, which gets exhausted through vents throughout a home. Central systems rely on an outdoor compressor/condenser. Ductless mini-split systems consist of an outdoor compressor or condenser unit that connects to an indoor unit to distribute heat or AC throughout a home. Ground source heat pumps, also referred to as geothermal heat pumps, extract heat from the ground during cold weather via an underground piping system, which is then distributed throughout your home. During warmer months, the process is reversed to provide cooling.
Life Expectancy ~ 15 years ~ 15 years ~ 25 years
Most Common Fuel Source Options Electricity Electricity Electricity
Benefits
  • Can have a lower price point than ductless mini-splits (excluding ductwork installation)
  • Heat and cool a home two to four times as efficiently as conventional heating and cooling systems, reducing utility bills
  • Allow for control over an entire home’s temperature from a single thermostat
  • Require no combustion, which eliminates carbon monoxide, making them safer than conventional heating and cooling options
  • Can pair with solar PV and on-site storage options for electricity to reduce reliance on fossil fuel energy sources
  • Produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to a cleaner environment
  • Heat and cool a home two to four times as efficiently as conventional heating and cooling systems, reducing utility bills
  • Allow for customization and control of the temperature of each room in a home
  • Require no existing ductwork
  • Are less invasive and expensive than installing the ducting required for central systems
  • Qualified models are optimized for New York weather conditions—look for a cold-climate model
  • Small in size, providing design flexibility in home placement
  • Require no combustion, which eliminates carbon monoxide, making them safer than conventional heating and cooling options
  • Can pair with solar PV and on-site storage options for electricity to reduce reliance on fossil fuel energy sources
  • Produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to a cleaner environment
  • Require minimal maintenance
  • Act as one system to heat, cool, and supply hot water (if equipped with a desuperheater) for your home
  • Provide more consistent, steady output and performance than air source heat pumps
  • You can immediately save 30 to 60 percent on heating and 20 to 50 percent on cooling costs when switching from conventional heating and cooling systems (such as fuel oil, propane, and electric resistance systems)
  • Require no combustion, which eliminates carbon monoxide, making them safer than conventional heating and cooling options
  • Can pair with solar PV and on-site storage options for electricity to reduce reliance on fossil fuel energy sources
  • Require minimal maintenance
  • Produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to a cleaner environment
Considerations
  • If ductwork in a home is not present, ductwork would need to be installed
  • Can have a higher price point than central heat pumps and conventional heating and cooling systems
  • Can have higher installation costs than central heat pumps
  • Depending on location and model, fans and compressors in the heat pump may be noisy
  • Can have the highest price point relative to other heating and cooling options
  • Homeowner must have sufficient space on property for installation
Operations and Maintenance
  • Routinely replace or clean your air filters to lower your central heat pump’s energy consumption
  • Check your heat pump’s evaporator coil every year and clean it as necessary
  • Have a qualified contractor service the central heat pump once a year
  • Clean or change filters once a month during peak usage times
  • Have a qualified contractor service the heat pump at least once a year
  • Clean or change filters once a month during peak usage times
  • Have a qualified contractor service the heat pump at least once a year

Explore NYSERDA’s list of approved heating and cooling contractors to install or service a heat pump for your home or property.

More information on Clean Heating and Cooling.