If you ask anyone that lives here, they’ll tell you that Jacksonville, FL is a great place to live. However, if we don’t do something soon to address the growing climate change crisis, it won’t stay that way for much longer. Scientists predict that numerous parts of the Jacksonville area are now at risk of nuisance flooding and that we should already expect stronger and more destructive storms to hit in the coming years. But what, if anything, can Jacksonville homeowners do to help the situation? The surprising answer may lie in a technology that’s already available—heat pumps. Here’s everything you need to know about why heat pumps offer a ready solution to the current climate crisis.
What’s Causing Our Climate Change Problem?
The biggest single cause of our current climate crisis is the rising amounts of carbon dioxide we pump into our atmosphere each year. Those emissions reached approximately 33.8 billion tons in 2022 alone. The emissions come from all kinds of human activity, but especially from the extraction and burning of fossil fuels. That means the gasoline in our cars, the natural gas and heating oil we use to warm our homes, and all of the fuels that power our electric grid are a big part of the problem.
The trouble is that all of that carbon helps to trap heat within the atmosphere. That extra heat melts glaciers and alters water temperatures. The result of those things is rising sea levels and stronger, more unpredictable storms. For all of us here in Jacksonville, those are major threats to our homes and way of life.
How Can We Halt Climate Change?
Right now, the single best solution to the climate change problem is to find ways to reduce those harmful carbon emissions. An excellent way to do that is to eliminate fossil-fuel-powered devices in favor of electric ones. Then, we can convert our electrical generation systems to use renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power. Achieving those two things would make a huge difference because electricity generation is the single largest source of carbon emissions, making up about 31% of the yearly totals. Transportation systems like cars aren’t far behind, making up another 24% or so each year.
How Can Heat Pumps Be a Climate Change Solution?
This is where heat pumps enter the equation. They offer a variety of benefits that could make a world of difference in the fight against climate change. First and foremost, unlike many furnaces and boilers, heat pumps don’t use fossil fuels to generate heat. That means every heat pump installed in a home is one fewer home relying on natural gas or heating oil. But that’s just the beginning.
Heat pumps also offer energy efficiency that no other heating or cooling system could hope to match. When running in heating mode, a heat pump can operate at up to 400% efficiency, which is more than four times as efficient as the best gas or oil furnace on the market. And when running in cooling mode, most heat pumps outperform conventional central air conditioning systems by a significant efficiency margin.
That extra efficiency helps to lower electricity demand, which could help to reduce the carbon emissions associated with electricity generation. Eventually, though, heat pumps will become an even bigger part of the climate solution once our grid completes the switch to renewable energy sources.
By helping to reduce carbon emissions right now, though, heat pumps can help us to decelerate the current pace of global climate change. With each passing year, the average temperature here in Jacksonville climbs. That means more days where we rely on air conditioning. And that means even more emissions. It’s a vicious cycle that heat pumps could help to break. If that were the only benefit heat pumps offered, it would still make them an essential and worthwhile part of a comprehensive climate change solution.
Is There Any Reason Not to Use a Heat Pump?
By now, you’re probably wondering why homeowners aren’t rushing to install heat pumps in their homes since they’re so beneficial. Part of the answer is a simple lack of knowledge about them. Even though heat pump technology isn’t new, it’s only recently emerged as a viable solution for residential heating and cooling. And there are a few reasons for that.
The first reason is cost. Buying and installing a heat pump typically costs more than a conventional HVAC system. For that reason, plenty of homeowners choose to save a bit of money upfront by sticking with the type of system they already had. However, it’s worth pointing out that heat pumps help you to save money on operating costs. So, over the lifetime of the system, a heat pump should make up for its initially higher costs.
The second reason that heat pumps aren’t more popular is the fact that they used to have a shorter lifespan than conventional HVAC systems. So, homeowners worried that they’d never recoup their initial costs before they’d need a replacement. In recent years, however, advances in heat pump design have extended the average system’s lifespan considerably. Today, the average heat pump system lasts around 15 years, which is similar to the lifespan of a conventional HVAC system.
The bottom line is that while there are a few things you’d need to consider before choosing a heat pump as your HVAC solution, none of them are deal-breakers.
Come to Jacksonville’s Heat Pump Experts
Hopefully, we’ve made it clear why heat pumps offer such an intriguing potential solution to the climate crisis. First, they help us to cut harmful carbon emissions right now, which is something we desperately need to do. Plus, they also help homeowners get ready for the switch to all-electric appliances and the transition to renewable energy. In that way, heat pumps serve as a critical bridge to the electrified future that homeowners can cross right now, even before the rest of the climate puzzle falls into place.
The best news of all for Jacksonville residents, though, is that they have access to the heat pump experts here at McGowan's Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ve served the community here for over 50 years, providing quality heating and cooling solutions to homeowners every step of the way. Now, we’re helping to spread the word about heat pump technology and the critical role it has to play in helping to halt climate change.
Our team of heating and cooling experts can answer all of your questions about heat pumps and help you decide on the right solution for your home, including installations and repair for all types of air conditioning and heating systems. Because maintenance will help minimize your system’s impact on the environment, we do that too. We also offer indoor air quality, duct cleaning, and attic insulation services.
So, contact McGowan's Heating & Air Conditioning today for all of your HVAC needs, and we’ll be happy to help you in any way we can.