Plog didn't think she'd need air conditioning in her home. She was used to the mild summers of coastal Washington when she was a child.

Climate change has pushed summer temperatures to 90 degrees in the past. She and her husband decided to pay for something they had never done before.

Plog told Yahoo News that they made the decision after she had a baby. We don't do a good job of regulating temperature. I have never experienced these heat waves in Washington.

With climate change, Plog and her husband decided that a home without air conditioning could be dangerous for their child. Adding air conditioning can increase the cost of electricity. An electric heat pump is more economical than air conditioning.

Air-sourced heat pumps take heat from the air and use a refrigerant that circulates it between an indoor fan coil unit and an outdoor compressor to expel the cold air. In the summer, heat pumps heat from the outside into the home, and in the winter, heat pumps heat into the building. They are more efficient than window air-conditioning units.

The carbon-free buildings program at the energy policy think tank believes that a heat pump is more efficient than a gas furnace. A heat pump is a great way to improve the efficiency of heating and cooling in a home.

Heat pumps installed in a backyard. (Getty Images)

There is an upfront cost. Buying and installing a new electric heat pump system for an average-sized single- family home can be expensive.

Washington subsidizes the cost of installing heat pumps.

Plog said that they found out that the local utility had incentives for people to do energy efficiency in their homes, and that they could also do interest-free financing over three years. It was a no-doubt for us.

Electric baseboard heating, a system notorious for its inefficiency at heating rooms and wildly inefficient in its electricity use, used to be a feature of Plog's house. In addition to providing the family with an affordable central air-conditioning system, Plog has reduced her energy costs in the winter.

Plog said that at the highest points of their electricity bill, they were spending $200 more than they did now.

Carbon switch says electric heat pumps cost anywhere between $3,500 and $20,000. A new gas furnace can cost between $1,700 and $9,700 and a new oil furnace can cost between $4,300 and $9,200 according to This Old House. Since they provide both heating and cooling, heat pumps do not need to be bought for air conditioning. says central air conditioning can cost up to $7,480.

President Biden, with, from left, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., after the president signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, Aug. 16. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

Eliminating greenhouse gas emissions will be a two-step process. It will require the use of electric vehicles, home heating and cement production in order to burn fossil fuels. States will need to create a clean power grid based on wind and solar energy.

The first step is to switch from fossil-fuel burning to electric heat pumps. Even with the current energy mix, which is mostly powered by fossil fuels, a study from scientists at the University of California, Davis, in April found that residential heat pumps reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 50% over a gas furnace. Electric heat pumps are more efficient than electric resistance heating systems so they reduce emissions.

The heat pump is more efficient. It is possible to reduce demand from the electric grid. Emissions reductions associated with heat pumps are one of the ways that we are still cleaning the grid.

Out of 140 million homes in the US, heat pumps are the primary heating system. The most recent year for which data is available is 2020.

In light of the fact that heat pumps have the potential to reduce emissions but are only installed in a small percentage of homes, promoting the transition to them is a major focus of the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act. The new law creates a federal tax credit for 30% of the total cost of your heat pump, up to $2,000. If you make less than 80% of your state's median household income, you can get $8,000 for a heat pump and $1,750 for a heat pump water heater. Half of the rebates will be given to households with income between 80% and 150% of their state's median income.

Home inspector Larry Vanay inspecting the gas furnace and water heater of a new house near Manassas, Va., in 2007. (Gerald Martineau/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Air-sourced heat pumps don't work as well in cold weather because it's harder for them to get heat from the air. A heat pump and a backup furnace are ideal solutions for many customers. If you want to go completely fossil fuel-free, the backup heating option is an electric furnace, which is less efficient but works in any weather. Buying an electric heat pump can still save a lot of money on utility bills.

Toby Barnett, a real estate broker who lives in the Seattle suburb of Arlington, Wash., told Yahoo News that when he and his wife bought their newest house, it was on propane for heat. We would always use propane until June-ish. We can stop using propane in March because the heat pump works at 38 degrees. Once we reach a temperature of 38 degrees, the heat pump turns on and we use electricity instead of propane.

The savings in the propane bill paid for the heat pump in three years was what Barnett paid for a heat pump.

It is possible to use heat pumps in cold temperatures. The heat pumprigerants have a higher boiling point than the cold climate heat pumps. Some of the models work at minus 13 degrees. According to experts, cold climate heat pumps are more expensive to install than any other heat pump in the industry.

Ground-sourced heat pumps, which are installed several feet below ground rather than above it, have pipes that are 100 feet below the surface. The heat pump is more effective in cold climates. Air-sourced heat pumps are cheaper. The average cost of installing a ground-source heat pump in a 2,000- square-foot house is between $10,000 and $20,000.

When taking into account the inflation reduction act's subsidies, experts argue that homeowners will save money if they make the switch.

The director of federal policy at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy told Yahoo News that heat pumps can serve as an air conditioner and a heating source. People should replace their air conditioning with heat pumps. The air conditioner is more expensive. They can leave the old heater in place and use that as a back up if they need it.

When natural gas was cheap, people in cold climates didn't want to change their heating system from a gas burner to a heat pump. In response to the energy crisis caused by Russia, oil and gas prices have increased, making other alternatives more appealing.

The Arlington, Wash., home of Toby Barnett. Credit: Toby Barnett

Some people think that gas furnaces may be better for some people. Natural gas heat pumps are eligible for the same tax credit as electric heat pumps if they are powered by natural gas, according to the AGA.

The inclusion of natural gas heat pumps in the inflation reduction act is a testament to the importance of natural gas in providing safe, reliable and affordable energy to Americans and helping to achieve our nation's environmental goals.

The energy efficiency of natural gas heat pumps can be as high as 140%, which means that each unit of energy put in can generate as much heat as a conventional boiler. Electric heat pumps can achieve up to 400% energy efficiency.

On Tuesday, a coalition of 26 environmental and public health advocacy organizations submitted a petition to the EPA asking the agency to ban oil and gas boilers in homes by 2030. According to the environmental groups, electric heat pumps will be available and accessible by the end of the decade, obviating the need for new fossil-fuel home furnaces or hot water boilers.

The AGA said that the switch to electric heating would overload the electricity grid and increase emissions from power plants that burn gas or coal.

Some industry watchers don't think Americans will switch to electric heat pumps in large numbers. Frank Maisano is a partner at Bracewell, a law and lobbying firm that represents energy companies and heating and air-conditioning manufacturers. People don't choose those options.

The cost barrier for many people who might otherwise be inclined to purchase a heat pump isn't erased by the inflation reduction act. For a couple making $160,000 in a high-cost area like New York City or Los Angeles who don't qualify for significant rebates, it may be difficult to afford an electric heat pump with only a $2,000 tax credit.

Demand for electric heat pumps is increasing and will continue to increase in the future according to some industry experts.

The shift in demand is moving towards electric alternatives for comfort, energy savings and climate perspectives.