It may have been a warmer than usual winter in Maine, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t gotten mighty cold. In mid-January in Farmingdale, a town outside Augusta where Kaylie McLaughlin lives, the temperature dipped to 6 degrees Fahrenheit. “The kind of cold that hurts,” she said.

But this winter, Ms. McLaughlin’s bungalow is toasty, thanks to two heat pumps she installed to replace her oil furnace. “I’m just so comfortable,” said Ms. McLaughlin, a pharmaceutical sales representative. She’s also saving money, no longer paying $400 every four weeks for an oil delivery.

Unlike a space heater, a heat pump extracts heat from outside air, even in subzero temperatures, and then runs it through a compressor, which makes it even hotter, before pumping it indoors. In the summer, it can operate in reverse, pulling heat from inside a building and pumping it outside, cooling the indoor spaces.

In 2023 heat pumps outsold gas furnaces in the United States for the second year running, a climate win. Electrical heat pumps are the cheapest and most energy efficient ways to heat and cool homes, and they do not emit the carbon pollution that is overheating the planet.

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