Heat pumps are misunderstood by many homeowners – many still believe that they do not adequately heat homes or know very little about them.
Heat pumps are more energy efficient, because they move warm air from one space to another instead of generating cold or hot air. They can save members hundreds of dollars annually in HVAC and maintenance costs, while significantly reducing their carbon footprint. However, many members are uncertain how heat pumps work and what benefits they can see from them.
Additionally, certain heat pumps – specifically ENERGY STAR-certified ones – can earn members federal tax credits. Several states, local municipalities and utilities have additional initiatives to tempt homeowners to invest, but many members aren’t aware of these benefits.
We turned to Don Johnson of Freedom Heating and Cooling in Birmingham, Alabama, to get a frontline view on how homeowners view heat pumps, from someone who is out in the field every day. Don is the president at Freedom, which has been serving northern Alabama since 2003, when Don’s father, John Johnson, first began operations. Don and Freedom joined the HomeServe team in 2020.
Don participated in a quick question-and-answer session to give a snapshot of how homeowners view heat pumps right now.
Q: If a customer is interested in energy efficiency or saving money, have they expressed interest in heat pumps?
A: Not usually.
Q: If you’ve suggested an upgrade/installation, have you encountered any misperceptions/confusion from customers? What were they?
A: Most misunderstandings are that it will not heat the house as well as a furnace. Older heat pumps were often thought to not be working because the air out of the vent was not as hot as a furnace. However, 95-degree air will warm a home, but will also “feel” cool as it blows over you.
Q: What are the most common concerns from customers about the installation of a heat pump?
A: Is it “right” for my home.
Q: Are customers generally well-informed?
Q: Do customers understand what it is? If they don’t know, do you explain it to them or sell them something else?
A: We have to educate the benefits of lower gas bills with heat pumps, especially with dual fuel systems, which combine both gas heating and a heat pump.
Q: What are the top reasons customers list to have one installed?
A: Comfort, and humidity control is better than a furnace.
Q: What are the biggest obstacles to customers having heat pumps installed?
A: Electrical panel size and wiring are the biggest concerns. Proper size ductwork is more critical for a heat pump than a furnace or air conditioner.
Q: When you recommend heat pumps to customers, what benefits do you highlight?
A: Energy savings, comfort and better humidity through the winter.
Q: Are you seeing an increase in interest?
A: Heat pumps are more acceptable today than in the past.
Q: Any questions coming up frequently about heat pumps?
A: Will it heat my home as well as a furnace.
Q: How often do customers come to you with questions about heat pumps?
A: No; not often. We tend to bring up the subject.
Q: What makes the ideal customer or job?
A: Younger families with comfort concerns. Older individuals grew up with the blast of “hot” air and want that.
Educating members about the benefits of a heat pump is an uphill battle, but partnering with HomeServe can help you take it on – we have a nationwide network of pre-vetted contractors who know HVAC and can help members work out whether a heat pump is the smart move for their home.
HomeServe partners with utilities throughout North America to help educate their members, shield them from the unexpected expense of emergency home repairs and make finding a reputable contractor easier. We have an optional warranty plan for all of your members’ most vital whole-home systems, including HVAC, interior electric, interior plumbing and electrical and gas connections.
For more information on how we can help bring your customers peace of mind, contact us.