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Heat Pump vs. Gas Furnace – making the right choice for your home

Are you in need of a new HVAC system, and trying to choose between an air source heat pump and a gas furnace? We’re here to explain why going with a heat pump is a no-brainer. In comparison to their gas counterparts, heat pumps are…

Learn more about each of these points in a deep dive comparison of air source heat pumps and furnaces below:

Drake meme: "when someone tells me gas furnaces are fine" vs. "when I learn what a heat pump is"

Gas furnaces vs. heat pumps: which is the right HVAC system for me?

Let’s start with the obvious – we know it can be pretty overwhelming to replace a heating and cooling system in your home. Oftentimes, it happens during a literal make-it-or-break-it moment – your house needs heating or cooling as soon as possible because your current system has broken. And, let’s be honest, it’s expensive. For the average homeowner, their HVAC system is the third largest investment they’ll make, behind their home and car. It’s important to get this right, and we’re here to help.

First, we recommend making a plan so you don’t find yourself in this stressful situation. Second, let’s dive in – why would you want to switch from a gas furnace, the system you’ve always known?

Simple: heat pumps are the best and most efficient technology you can get your hands on, they’re good for your wallet and the climate, and there are loads of incentives (we’re talking federal, state, local, and utility) that defray the upfront cost of installation…and that free money won’t be available forever. There’s no time like the present.

Heat pumps are a smart investment

The first question when replacing any large equipment in your home is probably, “how much is this going to cost me?” 

Heat Pumps Furnaces
Functionality Heating and air conditioning, gentle and evenly distributed Just heating, blasts hot air on and off
Upfront installation costs $7,500-20,000 (after incentives, see table below) $6,000-24,000 (no incentives)
Available incentives At least $2,000 tax credit, and depending on where you live, often more that are stackable.
Colorado and Massachusetts, see links for more information.
None
Operating costs Lower – on average, our customers save hundreds, and in some cases more than $1,000 per year on utility costs  Higher
Energy efficiency 300% more efficient than furnaces Less efficient
Lifespan 15-25 years 20 years

These general costs cover a wide range of numbers, mostly dependent on the size of your home and its heating and cooling needs.

All in all, thanks to the robust rebates and tax credits available to offset the costs of these systems (we’ll explain more below), in most instances, installing a heat pump today is less expensive than installing a new furnace and air conditioner/central air system, and it will help you save on operating costs in the long run, too.

Tax credits and rebates and incentives – oh my!

The great news about heat pumps is that unlike their fossil fuel-emitting counterparts (looking at you, gas furnaces), heat pumps are being adopted due to the cost benefit to the user across the board (amongst all of the other benefits listed on this blog, of course). In fact, for the past two years, heat pumps have outsold gas furnaces!

In 2022 the Inflation Reduction Act was passed in the U.S. It created a “wallet” that gets refilled every year that you, as an American homeowner, can use to offset the cost of installing climate-friendly upgrades. But, this wallet won’t refill forever. This is a sooner-rather-than-later moment for those looking to take advantage of the heat pump tax credit, which is $2,000 for qualified heat pumps. Plus, this credit has no lifetime dollar limit, meaning you can claim the maximum annual credit every year that you make other eligible energy efficiency improvements through 2033.

As for the average 1,500 square foot home (for example, we’re using the costs for a home in Denver, CO), below are the cost savings post-incentives:

Cost Explanation
$23,000 Cost of Cold Climate Heat Pump + Electrical Upgrades, before incentives
($2,200) Xcel Rebate (upfront to Elephant Energy)
($3,500)
($1,200)
Denver CARe Heat Pump Rebate (upfront to Elephant Energy)
Denver CARe Electrical Rebate (upfront to Elephant Energy)
($2,000) Federal Tax Credit from Inflation Reduction Act
($1,200) State of CO Heat Pump Discount
= $10,100 Total incentives
= $12,900 Total cost, after incentives

Beyond this federal powerhouse, many states and cities have adopted rebates and incentives for installation of heat pumps in homes. In the greater Denver area, there are multiple options to choose from (and they can be stacked with energy utility rebates, too!) For the Boston Metro, Mass Save is a fantastic program with super robust rebates for heat pumps (up to $10,000 for single family homes!). A quick internet search of your city’s name + “heat pump incentives” may find you more money back than you were expecting.

Health and safety for you and your family

A recent study found that children living in a home with a gas stove have a 42% increased risk of experiencing asthma symptoms. When it comes to your family’s health, it makes a difference to switch from a gas stove to an induction stove, a gas furnace to a heat pump, and a gas-burning water heater to a heat pump water heater.

Why? A heat pump runs solely off of electricity. This is safer than burning gas, which in turn releases fossil fuels into your home – and impacts the air you’re breathing every day. (And yes – the same goes for the gas stove and your fuel-burning cars, too.)

The best modern tech in the HVAC market

As we explained in our introduction to heat pumps blog, heat pump technology has been around for many years, but it’s improved tremendously over the past ten years. This means you’re selecting an advanced piece of equipment to join your home appliance lineup that is better for the environment, better for your wallet, and going to last you in the long run. With natural gas beginning to be phased out, you won’t want to be delayed in making the switch!

With the push made by federal, state, and local governments to make the transition to energy efficient appliances and away from fossil fuels, you can trust that you’re investing in the best tech for your home today. Plus, homes that install heat pumps see a 4-7% increase in home value. Not too shabby!

Along with the smart investment of great tech comes the promise of a better user experience when you’re choosing a heat pump over a gas furnace. Heat pumps are much quieter than a gas furnace, which blasts on any time your home is not at the set temperature on your thermostat. Then, when it reaches that temperature, the furnace kicks off. It repeats this pattern all day and all night – on, off, on, off. In contrast, the heating and cooling produced by a heat pump are much more gentle and even, because they run quietly on a low setting in the background at all times.

If you had to choose between a late 90’s desktop computer you had to lug around everywhere you went or a new laptop, you’d almost certainly choose the latter. Beyond it being kind of embarrassing to be sporting outdated tech, the ease of use, convenience, and affordability over time of a desktop pale in comparison to a modern day laptop. We trust that you get where we’re going here.

In this round of heat pump vs furnace, it’s heat pump all the way. Your future self will thank you!

Energy efficiency meets environmentally friendly

For years, we burned stuff to make heat. We burned stuff to drive cars and cook our food, too. But we’re here to tell you – you don’t need to burn stuff anymore to heat your home.

Did you know that our homes account for 20% of climate-related emissions each year? Most of that is from heating and cooling. Yikes! By electrifying your home and using clean energy (like solar), it’s possible to completely eliminate those emissions. Pretty cool, right?

What about the impact of simply installing a heat pump, though? Research shows that in all 48 continental states, replacing a gas furnace with a heat pump will reduce emissions within the very first year of installation and across the 15-year lifespan of the product. While the exact amount of emissions reduction varies by state, in many places, the reduction is up to 93% over the lifetime of the heat pump. You can read more about this research and see the specific projections for the state you live in here

Either way, the proof is in the pudding — if you care about reducing your footprint, installing a heat pump is the way to go.

Heat pumps: the clear winner when it comes to choosing HVAC for your home

Going for a heat pump over a furnace? Smart move. You’re getting cutting-edge tech that saves you money in the long run, thanks to incentives and lower energy bills. Plus, it’s a win for comfort and health at home – steadier temps and cleaner air. It’s a solid choice all around.

If you’re wanting to embrace climate action on a personal level, heat pumps are also a great option for that. Check out this personal climate calculator to see how much your heating and cooling makes a difference in your home.


Ready to get started? Join us in building a brighter future by electrifying everything, starting with homes. Your choice today shapes our collective tomorrow!

Heat Pump Water Heater DIY Maintenance + Guides

Heat pump water heaters are the energy-efficient alternative to traditional electric or gas-powered water heaters. They provide significant savings on your utility bills while also reducing carbon emissions – we love a double-duty worker! As with any home appliance, proper maintenance is important to be sure your heat pump is operating at its optimal performance and will last a long time. Below, we’re sharing our best tips and tricks to perform some DIY maintenance on your heat pump water heater, showcasing our printable heat pump water heater guides, as well as letting you know when it’s time to call in the big dogs (that’s us. The big Elephants?)

Understanding Your Heat Pump Water Heater:

Before we dive into the depths of all that your heat pump water heater has to offer, we think it’s even more important you know the basic functions of how it works. Instead of relying on conventional direct heating elements or burners like a gas or electric water heater, heat pump water heaters extract heat from the ambient air around it and transfers that heat into the water tank. This process utilizes the components inside of the heat pump water heater, like the compressor, refrigerant, and the tank itself that stores hot water. Making sure that all of these items are at their best ensures optimal efficiency for your heat pump water heater for years to come.

Tips for Heat Pump Water Heater Self-Maintenance:

Heat pump water heater parts - image source Woodfin

1 – Regularly Check and Clean Air Filters:

Your heat pump water heater has an air filter, which works to prevent dust and debris from accumulating on the coils. By checking these filters regularly (we’re talking monthly, set a calendar reminder!) and cleaning them out, you’ll maintain optimal airflow. If you find cleaning isn’t doing the trick, be sure to order replacement filters. Restricted airflow will reduce your heat pump water heater’s efficiency along with increasing energy consumption.

2 – Inspect and Clean Condenser and Evaporator Coils:

Heat is transferred in your water heater via the condenser and evaporator coils, and if dust and dirt build up on them, it will reduce your water heater’s efficiency. By inspecting the coils on your heat pump water heater, you can ensure they’re clean and efficient. The coils can be cleaned with a soft brush or a vacuum cleaner – be sure to avoid harsh chemicals or any abrasive materials as they can easily damage the coils.

3 – Maintain Adequate Clearance:

When your heat pump water heater is installed by Elephant Energy, we make sure it has adequate clearance surrounding it to allow for proper airflow. It’s up to you to keep it up – remove any obstructions like boxes, furniture, or debris that can block and restrict airflow to the unit. It’s crucial for the heat pump water heater’s function that you have optimal heat exchange and efficiency, so find a new spot to stack up your holiday decorations and boxes of photo albums!

4 – Check the Anode Rod:

The anode rod for your heat pump water heater is a sacrificial component that helps prevent corrosion inside the water heater tank. Inspect the anode rod annually and replace it if it’s corroded or worn out. A correctly functioning anode rod can extend the lifespan of your water heater and prevent costly tank repairs down the road.

5 – Monitor Temperature and Pressure:

Regularly check the temperature and pressure relief valve on your heat pump water heater to ensure it’s functioning correctly. Test the valve by lifting the lever briefly to release a small amount of water. If the valve fails to operate or leaks persistently, replace it immediately to prevent potential water hazards.

6 – Flush the Tank Annually:

Insulating the hot water pipes connected to your heat pump water heater can help reduce heat loss and improve overall efficiency. Use foam pipe insulation sleeves to cover exposed pipes, especially in unheated areas such as basements or crawl spaces. 

7 – Insulate Hot Water Pipes:

Some components of your air source heat pump, such as fan motors and bearings, may require lubrication to reduce friction and ensure smooth operation. Refer to your owner’s manual for guidance on lubrication intervals and the type of lubricant to use.

Looking for more information regarding best practices, frequently asked questions, and troubleshooting? Download our user guides, made in house by our team of HVAC experts, here:

AO Smith (Model HPTU-80)
Rheem (Model PROPH5)

When to Call in the Experts:

As listed above, there’s a ton you can do as a homeowner to maintain your heat pump water heater by yourself. However, it’s good to know what situations call for professional experience:

1 – Electrical or Mechanical Issues:

If you encounter any electrical or mechanical problems with your heat pump water heater, such as compressor failure or motor issues, it’s best to contact a qualified HVAC technician. Attempting to repair complex components without proper training and tools can be dangerous and may void your warranty.

2 – Warranty Coverage:

By choosing Elephant Energy to install your heat pump water heater, you’ll receive a one year labor warranty. You’ve also got a ten year parts warranty for any part or equipment failures. Keep in mind, it’s imperative that you follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance guidelines and seek authorized service providers for repairs. Attempting DIY repairs or neglecting maintenance could void your warranty and leave you liable for repair costs.

Continual, regular maintenance is key to both maximizing the performance and lifespan of your heat pump water heater as well as ensuring you’re keeping a climate-friendly home running its best. Take the time to read and revisit this guide for our DIY tips, to download our helpful user guides, and to remind yourself when it’s best to call in the experts. With the right care and attention, your heat pump water heater will provide reliable hot water for years to come, all while helping you do your part in decarbonizing as well as saving money, too!

Ready to get started? Join us in building a brighter future by electrifying everything, starting with homes. Your choice today shapes our collective tomorrow!

Air Source Heat Pump DIY Maintenance + Guides

Being the proud owner of an air source heat pump can significantly contribute to both energy efficiency and a climate-friendly home. However, things can turn south if you aren’t keeping up with regular maintenance to ensure your heat pump’s optimal performance. We’re big fans of do-it-yourself maintenance on your products in between professional servicing to keep your air source heat pump running in tip-top shape. Follow this simple DIY maintenance guide for your heat pump to get tips and tricks on self-maintenance for your heat pump, plus get a printable option for you to use whenever you need it, along with insights on when it’s time to call an expert.

Understanding Your Air Source Heat Pump:

Before we just jump into the how-tos on self-maintaining your heat pump, it’s super important to understand how the heat pump itself operates. Essentially, your air source heat pump works by transferring heat from the outside air into your home, and vice versa to cool it in the warmer months. It’s wild to know that there’s heat outside, even when temps are in the negatives, but it’s true! There are multiple parts that work to make all of this happen in your heat pump, including a compressor, condenser, evaporator, and refrigerant lines.

Tips for Heat Pump Self-Maintenance:

1 – Regularly Clean or Replace Air Filters:

One of the simplest yet most important maintenance tasks is cleaning or replacing your heat pump’s air filters. Clogged filters restrict airflow, reducing the heat pump’s efficiency and potentially leading to system malfunctions. Check your filters monthly and clean or replace them as needed, especially during peak usage seasons. Want to see filter cleaning in action? Check out our video on how to clean your wall-mounted heat pump air filters, or see our video on how to clean your mini-split ceiling-mounted heat pump air filters.

2 – Keep Outdoor Unit Clear:

The outdoor unit of your heat pump can accumulate dirt, debris, leaves, and even snow depending on the season. Make sure that the area around your heat pump’s outdoor unit remains clear to allow proper airflow. Trim back any growth from bushes, trees, or grass, and be sure to remove any obstructions that could block airflow to the unit.

3 – Inspect and Clean Coils:

Both your heat pump’s outdoor condenser coil and indoor evaporator coil can collect dirt and dust over time, hindering heat transfer. By periodically inspecting these coils and cleaning them, you’ll ensure efficient performance. For the outdoor unit, you can use a hose. Make sure you’re gentle to avoid damaging the fins. For the indoor unit, use a soft brush or vacuum cleaner.

4 – Check and Clean Drainage System:

A clogged condensate drain on your heat pump can cause water leakage or potentially even water damage to your home, and that’s no good! Inspect the condensate drain regularly and be sure to remove any obstructions using a vacuum or a mixture of water and mild detergent. Ensuring proper drainage prevents future issues.

5 – Monitor Refrigerant Levels:

While refrigerant leaks are very uncommon, it’s essential to monitor the refrigerant levels periodically to be sure nothing fishy’s happening with your heat pump. Low refrigerant levels may indicate a leak or other issues that require professional attention. If you notice a significant decrease in cooling or heating efficiency, contact the team at Elephant Energy to inspect and recharge the refrigerant as needed.

6 – Test Thermostat and Controls:

Regularly test your thermostat and heat pump controls to ensure they’re functioning correctly. Sometimes, it can be as simple as replacing the batteries in your thermostat if you’re having issues. You’ll also want to ensure that the settings are appropriate for your climate-friendly home’s needs.

7 – Lubricate Moving Parts:

Some components of your air source heat pump, such as fan motors and bearings, may require lubrication to reduce friction and ensure smooth operation. Refer to your owner’s manual for guidance on lubrication intervals and the type of lubricant to use.

Take a look at our best practices, FAQs, and troubleshooting tips for your heat pump from our team here:

Mitsubishi Heat Pump User Guide
includes: Mitsubishi PUZ, Mitsubishi MXZ-SM/PVFY, Mitsubishi MXZ36-SVZ24, and Mitsubishi MXZ36

When to Call in the Experts:

While self-maintenance can help keep your air source heat pump in good condition, there are certain situations where professional assistance is necessary. Good news – we’re only a phone call or email away!

1 – Complex Repairs:

If you encounter any issues beyond basic maintenance tasks, such as compressor failure, refrigerant leaks, or electrical problems, it’s best to contact the team at Elephant, where we have qualified HVAC technicians ready to help. Attempting complex repairs without proper training and equipment can lead to further damage or safety hazards.

2 – Annual Professional Servicing:

We’re huge supporters of you performing DIY maintenance on your heat pump, but annual professional service can cover the more difficult and complex maintenance needs! During these service visits, a technician will conduct thorough inspections, tune-ups, and system diagnostics to ensure your heat pump is running at its best and proactively address any issues they may see with an expert eye.

3 – Warranty Coverage:

By installing your heat pump with Elephant Energy, you’ll automatically receive a one year warranty for labor. Our Mitsubishi heat pumps that we install also come with a 12- year manufacturer’s warranty. Plus, the Elephant Energy Maintenance + Extended Labor Warranty Packages are a great way to ensure the investment on your heat pump is well-maintained.

Elephant Energy maintenance plan

Following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance guidelines while also relying on authorized service providers will preserve your warranty coverage. Remember – attempting large DIY repairs yourself or neglecting maintenance overall can void your warranty, so be sure you’re taking close care!

Maintaining your air source heat pump is crucial for maximizing its efficiency, lifespan, and performance. By following the tips and tricks outlined in this guide, you can perform basic maintenance tasks yourself and while keeping your heat pump running smoothly. However, remember to seek professional assistance for complex repairs and schedule annual servicing to address any underlying issues and ensure long-term reliability. With proper care and attention, your air source heat pump can continue to provide efficient heating and cooling for years to come.

Ready to get started? Join us in building a brighter future by electrifying everything, starting with homes. Your choice today shapes our collective tomorrow!

5 Ways to Hard Launch your Relationship (With your Heat Pump)

Valentine’s Day is a time of public declarations – when even those of us that typically refrain from PDA find the courage to tell the world, “hey, just in case it wasn’t clear, I really love this person!”. This can take many shapes and forms–engagement, marriage–and even the “hard launch”, which often happens on our social media feeds.

We’re here with a hot take: if you have a heat pump, it’s time to hard launch your relationship with it this Valentine’s Day.

Why? Well, put simply, personal climate action is contagious – in a good way! Research on solar panel adoption (replicated many times, in many geographies) shows that the biggest predictor of whether you will purchase solar panels is whether your neighbor has already done so! Why? As Katherine Hayhoe so eloquently explains, this lowers “the ‘cost’ of information”. Knowing that you can go down the street and ask who installed the equipment and how it went is, well, comforting.

This isn’t the only research that underscores the importance of social proof when it comes to home electrification, though. A study recently published in the journal Energy Policy about household energy decision-making and technology adoption in the U.S. found that the top two information sources homeowners sought after during their consideration process were (1) their own friends and family (~42% survey respondents), and (2) online reviews (~36% of survey respondents).

Here’s the tricky thing about heat pumps and heat pump water heaters though, though. These HVAC systems are hidden away in our basements, utility closets, and backyards – entirely out of sight from the neighbors, typically. Remember the old conundrum, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it does it even make a sound?” Feels pretty relevant here!

The point is, taking a public stand for personal climate action can dramatically accelerate the pace of progress in your orbit. By taking a few minutes to  “hard launch” your home electrification efforts, you have the opportunity to create a ripple effect of decarbonization far beyond the four walls of your own home.

How to “Hard Launch” your heat pump (on social)

Social media is a great place to share your story! We created these love notes to make it easy. What is an example of a hard launched relationship? Sending ’em a Valentine, of course!

They are yours to save, use, and share! You can tag us on any of these platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Threads, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok).

 

How to Hard Launch your heat pump without social media

No social media? No problem! When should you hard launch a relationship? Well, we’re taking advice from our friends at VeryWellMind on hard launching your relationship without social media, and translating that to heat pumps.

  • Send a group text to your friends or family members. This can include the name and a photo of your partner. Yes this works great! “Heat Pump” has entered the chat.
  • Call your friends and family individually to discuss your relationship. Another strong option – share your reasons for why you went electric in a good ol’ fashioned phone call
  • Bring your partner out with you to meet your friends. Ehh, this one’s a little trickier…but snapping a selfie with your heat pump to share with friends might just do the trick!
  • Take your partner home to meet your family. This one’s even harder. Then again, dropping off information about a heat pump might be the move
  • Plan a gathering at which you’ll introduce your new partner to your social circle. This one is a gem! Throw a “meet my heat pump” party (and be sure to send us photos)!

So yes, make the cheesy post about your partner (seriously, always make the cheesy post), but don’t forget to also affirm your commitment to a cause that also needs your support now more than ever – the climate.


Ready to get started? Join us in building a brighter future by electrifying everything, starting with homes. Your choice today shapes our collective tomorrow!

Colorado State Heat Pump Tax Credit Filing Instructions

Does Colorado have a rebate for heat pumps? No – but we do have a new Colorado State tax credit for heat pumps and heat pump water heaters that went into effect on January 1, 2023. This guide is only for heat pumps installed in the state of Colorado in 2023.

  • The tax credit is an income tax reduction based on 10% of the price of the equipment, not including installation charges. 
  • The 10% tax credit also extends to electrical panel upgrades (if needed for the heat pump or heat pump water heater installation) and energy storage systems.
  • Inclusive Definition: “Building owners” encompass lessees with lessor-approved installations.

How to Claim / File for the Income Tax Credit:

What is the Colorado energy tax credit for 2024? Simply fill out Form DR 1322 to take advantage of your 2023 heat pump install. This must accompany the building owner’s Colorado income tax return. This is how you will receive the Colorado heat pump tax credit. Instructions below.
Note: If you are an Elephant Energy customer, download and use this Form DR 1322 as it is signed by us.

Disclaimer: While we provide guidance, it’s crucial to seek advice from a tax professional regarding individual tax situations. Our presentation doesn’t assume liability for your specific tax circumstances.

  1. PART 1 – Eligibility Certification
    • Building Owner Information: Fill in your name, Social Security number, and address. Include your spouse’s details only if filing jointly. If the building owner is a business, provide its name and Federal Employer Identification number.
      Screenshot of tax form for building owner information
    • Contractor: 
      1. Business Name: Elephant Energy, Inc.
      2. FEIN: 61-1992874
      3. Mailing Address: 1390 Yellow Pine Avenue
      4. City: Boulder
      5. State & Zip Code: CO 80304
        Contractor information on a tax form
    • Line 1 Installation Address and Date: List the street address of the building where the heat pump or heat pump water heater was installed.
      Installation address and date
    • Line 2 Purchase Type, Building Type, and Installation Standard 
      1. For purchase type, select the relevant purchase made from one of the highlighted products that Elephant Energy supplies below (with star).
      2. For building type, choose “Residential”.
      3. For Installation Standard, check “Licensed Contractor with Specialized Technicians”
    • Line 3 Purchase Information: provide the purchase date, serial numbers of the main components of the heat pump or water heater, along with their make and model details. This information is in your invoice from Elephant Energy.
    • Line 4 Certification of System Requirements and Installation Standards: Elephant Energy can confirm that its installations meet all 6 criteria.
      Purchase information tax form for energy creditPurchase Information
    • Line 5 Amount of Income Tax Credit
      1. On Line 5a, input the equipment-only cost (do not include labor cost). Please refer to your invoice for this breakdown.
      2. On Line 5b, calculate your heat pump system or water heater credit by multiplying the amount from Line 5a by 10% (0.10). This resulting figure represents your eligible credit. If you’re not assigning the credit, transfer this amount to the appropriate credit schedule (DR 0104CR, DR 0106CR, or DR 0112CR).
        Amount of Income Tax Credit
  1. PART 2 – Contractor Certification Sales Tax Exemption – Elephant Energy installations have already taken the sales tax exemption so there is nothing for you to do here.
  2. PART 3 – Election Statement for Assignment of Income Tax Credit – Elephant Energy systems are not eligible for assignment back to Elephant Energy.

And once again, thank you for being a part of the Elephant Energy Herd!! You know that heat pumps are a good option for Colorado residents, and we couldn’t be where we are without wonderful customers like yourselves. We’re here for you – before, during, and after your Climate-Friendly Home upgrade.

Do heat pumps qualify for federal tax credit? Yes! Check out our guide here.