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Replacing Electric Resistance Heat

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Opportunities for Energy and Economic Savings by Replacing Electric Resistance Heat with HigherEfficiency Heat Pumps- ACEEE Research Report A1603


This report, released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), presents the results of an analysis of a detailed data set of nearly 2,000 US homes with electric resistance heating systems and looks at how much conversion to a heat pump would cost and save on a home-by-home basis.


According to the results, converting from electric resistance heat to heat pumps can cut electricity use for home heating by a little over half on average. Nevertheless, the economics of conversion vary depending on whether the home has central air-conditioning, the cost of conversion, the current energy consumption and the impact of climate on heat pump efficiency. In 88% of electric-furnace homes and 17% of electric-baseboard homes with central air-conditioning systems converting electric furnaces is often attractive from both an energy-saving and an economic point of view.  When converting electric furnaces (in need of replacement) without central air conditioners, payback periods are also sometimes less than 10 years. In respect to homes with built-in electric systems but without central air-conditioning, payback periods will often be more than 10 years (although the addition of air-conditioning will be attractive to some owners). If all homes in buildings of one to four units, with electric resistance heat as their primary heating system, were to install heat pumps, residential electricity use in the United States would decline by about 2.1%. The conversion to heat pumps in the South appears to be promising, since electric furnaces are prevalent there, most homes have central air-conditioning, and relatively mild temperatures make for high heat pump efficiency.


Please visit the ACEEE website to download the report.