Hi all. I know this is a few months after the last post, but I'd like to chime in on heat pumps. The best and most efficient type out there are the geothermal or ground-source heat pumps. They have a significant up front cost, but the pay back is there if you plan to stay in your home for at least 8 to 10 years, if you are currently burning oil, propane, electric. With new construction, geothermal is the way to go if you are not going to or don't want to burn coal imo. My father in law does well and geothermal drilling, a lot of new construction homeowners are installing geo. The secret to whether or not you are happy with the comfort of your geothermal heated home is whether or not you had a competent hvac tech do the install and that the system was sized properly for the size of home and climate and outdoor design temps and all that good stuff. My in laws also have geo in their newly constructed, 2500 sq ft, central PA home, and their house can be as toasty as they want it, although they keep the thermostat at 72* year round. Their total annual electric bill is approx. 1500.00, and this covers heating and cooling as well as all other electric consumption. Now, if you are looking to install central a/c, I would strongly suggest looking at the heat pump option, whether it be geothermal or air source, because you will be getting a heating option as well as cooling. The heating option is nice for those days that you need some heat, but not cold enough to light the coal up yet. Today's air source heat pumps have made great strides with efficiency, lower outdoor temperature operation, variable-speed compressors and such. We decided on installing a/c on our second floor and chose a Fujitsu mini split ductless heat pump--one outdoor unit, and 2 indoor units. Here are the specs of our system: It is a 2 ton system with a cooling capacity of 22000 btu. The SEER Rating is 18.00 Now the heating capacity is rated at 24,000 btu at 47* outdoor temperature. The heating capacity drops to 14,100 btu at 17* outdoor temp and they say it can still operate in heating mode down to the single digits, although the heat output will be limited. The heat rating (HSPF) is 9.50 So far, we are thrilled with the system. It cooled the 2nd floor superbly, with little or no effect on the electric bill. So far it has been piping out plenty of heat when night time temps were in the 20's recently. We shall see how it operates when it gets colder, but I have the Alaska, so I'm not too worried about that. We bought the system primarily for cooling, but the heating option is just a bonus. I guess the whole point of all this is to clarify that yes, heat pumps have had a bad rap in the past, but recent improvements make them a viable option, especially if you are looking to install a central a/c system regardless.