Why are heat pumps so hot right now?

I've spent the last six months or so working on a 7,000-word opus on heat pumps for Wirecutter — shadowing installers, interviewing architects and climate policy consultants, and digging through tomes of research to create the most comprehensive consumer guide to the technology that I could.

Heat pumps are good for your wallet—and the world.

They're the cheapest and most efficient way to handle both heating and cooling for your home, no matter where you live. They're also better for the environment. In fact, most experts agree they're one of the best ways for homeowners to reduce their carbon footprint and reap the benefits of a greener future without sacrificing comfort. In other words, they're a win-win.

"We've come to see climate solutions like paper straws as being something worse than what we're used to. But there are some places where everyone benefits, and I think heat pumps are a good example of that," said Alexander Gard-Murray, PhD, a political economist at Brown University and co-author of 3H Hybrid Heat Homes: An Incentive Program to Electrify Space Heating and Reduce Energy Bills in American Homes. "They're quieter. They offer more control. And at the same time, they're going to reduce our energy demand and our greenhouse gas emissions. So it's not just savings. It's a quality-of-life improvement."

But it can still feel daunting to pick the heat pump that's right for you, or even to know where to start looking…

I'm proud of the work, and the response to it has been largely fantastic, too. I don't know if it's the single most read thing I've written for the New York Times so far, but it's definitely the one that's sparked the most conversation. It has more comments than most Wirecutter pieces I've worked on, and I've been receiving multiple emails or DMs every day for the last week, either thanking me, or asking further questions about it. So that's pretty cool!

By complete coincidence, Technology Connections published the 20-minute video above just a few days before my own article was published. Theirs is a similarly comprehensive overview, and already has nearly a million views. Clearly, there's some electricity in the air for electrification — and given our worsening climate crisis and international fuel source problems, the timing couldn't be better.

If you're interested in more sustainable home heating and cooling (or climate policy overall), there might be some useful info here for you!

A Heat Pump Might Be Right for Your Home. Here's Everything to Know. [Thom Dunn / The New York Times' Wirecutter]