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Regular heat pumps are air to air. Take the heat out of inside and move it outside (AC mode) or take the heat from outside and move it inside (heat mode).

They are more efficient that electric heat.

HOwever, because they run all seasons, they are more prone to shorter lifetimes, and from my experience with two heat pump systems,you more than pay for the 'savings' by having to replace outdoor units and other service on them. No bargain.

Had one compressor go bad in 7 years (5 year warranty). Then at other house, had control valves go bust ($500 repair).

With just a/c system, one still running at 18 years and the other lasted 13 years. (House has two systems). Both furnaces (gas) in good shape.

Geothermal heat pumps are more efficient, but cost at least $10,000 more to install. In some places, you put in two 60-100 foot deep wells (18 inch diameter) to circulate water between them. IN other places, you bury a few hundred feet of pipe 4-6-8 feet down. Big trenches all over the yard.

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