Heat pumps are effective in most parts of the United States and have gradually replaced traditional furnaces and air conditioning units in new construction homes across the country. Modern air-source heat pumps deliver year-round comfort—but where do they perform best?

At What Temperature Do Heat Pumps Stop Working? 

Northern states see lower average temperatures during the winter months and substantially more days below freezing than states south of the Mason-Dixon Line. There is a lingering misconception that heat pumps, when in heat mode, stop working below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

They won't!

Heat pumps will keep working below freezing. The heat pump's heating efficiency is the only thing that drops along with the temperatures. Most heat pumps on the market today are 370% efficient at 47 degrees. That efficiency drops to 100% (just a bit better than the efficiency of the best gas furnaces on the market) at approximately 0 degrees; the exact temperature is hard to nail down because the heat pump model, relative humidity, and other factors impact it.

As a general rule of thumb, heat pumps and gas furnaces are equally efficient at about 20 degrees, but that doesn't mean you need to switch to gas at that temperature.

Contact your local One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning technicians for recommendations on the best heat pump for where you live.

Related: What Is a Heat Pump and How Does It Work?

Are Heat Pumps Practical Anywhere in the United States? 

Absolutely! Even before the federal incentives made installing a heat pump more affordable, sales of heat pumps surpassed those of gas furnaces in 2022. New tax credits and rebates are expected to push heat pump sales over that year's 2022 total, already an all-time high.

Heat Pumps Are Already Hot in the Southeast 

States with warm and humid climates have been early adopters of heat pumps. The Southeast is home to several of the best states for heat pumps in terms of adoption. Cold-weather heat pump technology has vastly improved over the last two decades and manufacturers are now offering models made for efficient operation in sub-zero temps. As these trends continue, expect to see more and more air-source heat pumps installed all over the country over the next decade.

Where Are Heat Pumps Used? 

The U.S. Energy Information Administration keeps tabs on the number of households that rely on heat pumps (instead of furnaces and air conditioners). Here's a look at the top 5 states with the highest share of homes that use heat pumps:

  1. South Carolina – 46%
  2. North Carolina – 42%
  3. Alabama – 42%
  4. Tennessee – 39%
  5. Florida – 32%

New-Construction Heat Pump Installations on the Rise 

In 2000, the share of new construction homes in the U.S. built with heat pumps was 23 percent. By 2021, that share increased to 40%. Adoption isn’t evenly distributed, with southern regions leading the way at 76.5%. The technology faces slower adoption in oil and natural gas states like Texas and Louisiana. (Though interestingly enough, Texas leads the US in the number of megawatts of electricity produced by renewable sources of energy.)

Put Energy-Efficient Technology to Work Where You Live 

Heat pumps work well in all parts of the U.S. and offer homeowners substantial energy savings and greenhouse gas reductions no matter where you live. Even when temperatures go below zero, heat pumps keep working—and so do we. For expert advice and installation of the best heating pump system for your home, book an appointment or call (800) 893-3523 today!