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Heat Pumps Outsell Gas Furnaces Again

Sales of Clean Heating and Cooling Equipment Top Gas Furnaces for a Second Year

For the second consecutive year, heat pumps – an emission-free dual heating and cooling technology – beat out gas-powered furnaces in total units sold in the U.S. Americans bought 3,616,632 heat pumps in 2023, compared to 2,989,516 gas furnaces, according to data from the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute. Heat pumps, which cool in the summer and heat in the winter, have been growing in popularity for their efficiency, comfort, and health benefits (i.e., removing onsite fossil fuel combustion).

Heat pump sales hit an all-time high of 4,334,479 in 2022. While sales for both heat pumps and fossil gas-powered furnaces dipped in 2023, heat pumps have widened the margin from 462,211 in 2022 to 627,116 in 2023.

Additionally, just 22,619 oil-powered furnaces were sold in 2023, which represents a 23.2.% drop from 2022 sales, and a 42.6% reduction from 2021 sales.

Chart Caption: Heat pump sales exceeded gas furnace sales for a second consecutive year, with 3,616,632 heat pump units and 2,989,516 gas furnaces sold in 2023.

Source: Canary Media

Heat Pumps vs. Fossil Fuel Heating Systems

Heat pumps use electricity to transfer heat from one place to another, rather than generate it. This makes the emission-free technology much more efficient than conventional heating systems, including fossil fuel furnaces and boilers, as well as electric resistance baseboards.

The all-electric equipment eliminates the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and air pollution that comes from furnaces burning natural gas or oil. Heat pumps also have excellent air filtration and dehumidification capabilities that further improve indoor air quality.

While the upfront cost of gas and oil furnaces is typically less, NYS Clean Heat rebates and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) incentives can significantly close the cost gap (more on that below). The superior efficiency can translate to long-term savings by reducing energy use and protecting customers from the impact of volatile fossil fuel prices.

As a dual heating and cooling system, heat pumps are an efficient and effective replacement for homes and buildings with separate air conditioners and heating systems. More frequent heat waves and extreme weather underscore the need for cooling in homes and buildings statewide. The all-in-one functionality also stands to save space and lower HVAC maintenance costs.

But how well do heat pumps work in the cold? Put simply: quite well. Cold-climate air source heat pumps can perform in temperatures as cold as -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, geothermal heat pumps use the consistent underground temperature (roughly 55 degrees Fahrenheit) to exchange heat, making their efficiency less subject to weather conditions.

In fact, heat pump sales growth is highest in colder regions – both in the U.S. and globally. To the north, Maine achieved its goal of installing 100,000 heat pumps by 2025, two years ahead of schedule. Similarly, three northern European countries – Sweden, Finland, and Norway – have the highest rate of heat pump adoption in the world.

Many New Yorkers are already heating and cooling with cold-climate heat pumps, with nearly 27,000 heat pumps installed in 2023 alone. Heat pump installations in 2022 reached a record high of nearly 30,000 for the Empire State. Note that heat pump systems can involve one or more heat pumps, depending on the building size, so the New York installation total is not a one-to-one match with total sales.

How to Leverage State and Federal Savings to Switch to Heat Pumps

Heating and cooling represent half of energy consumption for the typical U.S. home. Making the switch to heat pumps isn’t just about energy savings – it’s also an investment in comfort, health, and the planet.

First, getting a no-cost home energy assessment can help identify necessary efficiency upgrades, such as insulation or air sealing, to maximize the efficiency and performance of a heat pump system. From there, consider how NYS Clean Heat rebates and IRA tax credits can help save money on a heat pump installation.

Heat Pumps Sales Are Heating Up in 2024

Between their performance and IRA incentives available nationwide through 2032, heat pump sales are poised for continued growth. In the first quarter of 2024, heat pump sales are 30% higher than gas furnaces. By comparison, heat pump sales were 12% and 21% higher than gas-powered furnaces for 2022 and 2023, respectively.

More rapid growth in heat pump sales is still necessary to combat climate change. Over 5 million air conditioners were sold across the U.S. in 2023 – demonstrating the potential for installing heat pumps versus separate heating and cooling systems.

In New York State, an estimated 85% of buildings will use clean heating cooling technologies, whether heat pumps or large-scale thermal energy networks that can serve multiple buildings.

More on Efficient, All-Electric Technologies

Looking for other ways to slash your energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions? Read on below for further insights and inspiration for going all-electric.


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