When my husband and I decided to retire and move south, we started looking at houses on the market. I noticed that the majority of the properties listed a heat pump as the source of temperature control. I’d never heard of a heat pump before and wasn’t sure if this was an asset or a drawback. In the area where we’d previously lived, we were accustomed to long and extremely cold winters. Our house was outfitted with a gas furnace and we never even bothered with air conditioning. Realizing our needs were going to be quite different in our new location, I decided to research heat pumps. This type of system runs on electricity and one of the biggest benefits is that it provides both heating and cooling. A single unit handles year round comfort demands. In the summer, it functions very much like a conventional air conditioner. The unit looks a lot like an air conditioner and uses refrigerant to pull heat energy out of the house and transfer it outside. One of the advantages is that a heat pump is especially good at getting rid of excess humidity. When the weather cools off in the winter, the heat pump literally reverses the flow of refrigerant. It finds ambient heat in the outdoor air and pumps it indoors. The process avoids the burning of fossil fuels, fumes, hot surfaces and greenhouse gases. It’s exceptionally clean, safe, environmentally friendly and energy efficient. Heat pumps tend to be more expensive to purchase and install than other types of heating/cooling units but they typically pay for themselves in energy savings.