When my husband, Paul and I moved down south, we had never heard of a heat pump. We’d lived our whole lives in the northeastern part of the country, and heated our home with a forced air furnace. We’d never had a need for a central cooling system, and managed our summer comfort with box fans, open windows and portable air conditioners. Paul and I moved to an area where the weather never dips below freezing. It gets chilly enough that we need some type of heating for a few months, and we definitely require air conditioning for the summer. The outside temperature sometimes climbs up into the triple digits, and the humidity is horrendous. The house we bought is equipped with an electric heat pump. This innovative system combines heating and cooling capacity into a single unit. It does not burn fossil fuels to generate heat, but runs entirely on electricity. This avoids the concern over combustion byproducts, such as formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. It also is very environmentally friendly and helps minimize our carbon footprint. The heat pump simply moves heat from one location to another. During the summer months, the heat pump acts almost exactly like a central cooling system. It extracts heat from inside the home and pumps it outdoors, creating a cooling effect. In the winter, the heat pump actually reverses operation, finding ambient heat in outdoor air, compressing it to a higher temperature and delivering it indoors. This process is clean, safe, quiet, and wonderfully energy efficient. Plus, the heat pump does a good job of combating excess humidity during cooling mode, and effectively filters the indoor air.