Due to circumstances that are really too long to explain, I need to totally remove my oil heating system and replace it with an electric system. Quotes to tear out the old furnace, upgrade my ductwork and put in an electric furnace come in at about $4K. That's pretty much a given. Adding a heat pump, however, would cost about $5K to $6K. I currently have no air conditioning in my very old house with very old windows, and while I don't mind suffering a bit to save a few bucks, my fiancée is very much of the opposite opinion... but she currently lives in the southern States, and isn't really familiar with Canadian summers (it only gets stinkin' hot from about mid-July to mid-August where I live).
The pluses of getting the heat pump are essentially that I'm getting everything torn up to put the new furnace in and wired up right now, and installing something like a heat pump later would be much less convenient than getting it done now. It's also a "fire and forget" kind of solution for the next era of home ownership: get it done and it'll never have to be done again.
It's a two-story house built into a hill, so the upper floor is at street level and is entirely aboveground; the lower floor is below street level but is 90% aboveground thanks to the slope of the hill. About 80% of my time is spent on the upper floor -- the lower floor is my workshop, workout room, guest room, furnace room, storage space and a second bathroom. Total square footage is about 1800 sq.ft. divided evenly between the floors.
Since I've never had electric heat OR air conditioning, I'm in no position to compare expenditures vs. projected savings to cost out whether it's worthwhile. I'm tempted to put the $6K towards new windows, but that'd just be a drop in the bucket as far as window-replacement costs. The windows I have now are entirely unsuitable for window-mount air conditioners, and I'm not convinced those are a good idea at the best of times.
Most of the resources I've found re. heat pumps need you to figure out what you've been spending on heating/cooling for the past X years, but I don't have any such data. Previous threads like the one for Atlanta
thread is interesting but not especially relevant for my situation. The Arkansas
AskMe was a bit more helpful, but I'm more interested in its cooling properties than the heating ones.
I can't think of any other relevant information, but feel free to post more questions if that'll help me puzzle out whether or not this is a good move.
The environment is also a concern: while I know a standard air conditioner would be cheaper, is there one option that is much more green than the other? I'm already happy to be switching from oil to electric, as Quebec power is relatively green (mostly hydroelectric from northern dams).