Whose Heat Pump?
A demographic overview of current U.S. heat pump users
As shown on the previous pages, according to the 2020 RECS, 17.75 million people across the U.S. already use a heat pump as their primary home heating equipment, 1.12 million use a ductless heat pump as their primary heating equipment, and another 0.94 million use a ductless heat pump as secondary heating equipment.
To quote the great comedian, Jerry Seinfeld, “Who are these people?” That’s what this article seeks to determine. Here, drawing again from the 2020 RECS, Oil & Energy documents U.S. heat pump use by census region, housing unit type, owner/renter status, year of construction, household income, and number of household members.
This should help provide home energy marketers with a general demographic profile of the typical heat pump user. Note: this article only documents heat pump use as space heating; additional information on ductless heat pump use as air conditioning is available in the article “Who Are Your Competitors’ Customers?” and online at eia.gov/recs.
|Number of housing units (millions)|
|Heat pump use by U.S. census region|
|Use Heat Pump as Primary Heating||0.88||1.16||13.58||2.13|
| Southern Comfort
TMore than 3 in 4 heat pump users live in the South. This region is significantly hotter than the rest of the country, so homes there don’t need heating systems with high thermal capacity.
|Use Ductless Heat Pump as Primary Heating Equipment||0.26||0.08||0.43||0.36|
|Use Ductless Heat Pump as Secondary Heating Equipment||0.41||0.09||0.29||0.16|
|Heat pump use by type of housing unit|
|Single-Family Detached||Single-Family Attached||Apartments (2-4 Units)||Apartments (5+ Units)||Mobile Home|
|Use Heat Pump as Primary Heating||11.33||0.79||1.03||2.98||1.62|
|Use Ductless Heat Pump as Primary Heating Equipment||0.60||0.08||Q||0.31||Q|
|Use Ductless Heat Pump as Secondary Heating Equipment||0.81||0.05||Q||Q||Q|
|Heat pump use by owner/renter status|
|Own Total||Rent Total||Own Home||Rent Home||Own Apt.||Rent Apt.|
|Use Heat Pump as Primary Heating||12.27||5.48||11.86||1.88||0.41||3.60|
|Use Ductless Heat Pump as Primary Heating Equipment||0.75||0.38||0.71||Q||Q||0.34|
|Use Ductless Heat Pump as Secondary Heating Equipment||0.88||0.06||0.88||Q||N||Q|
|Heat pump use by year of construction|
|Use Heat Pump as Primary Heating||1.11||1.05||1.44||2.60||3.00||3.27||3.04||1.16||1.08|
|Use Ductless Heat Pump as Primary Heating Equipment||0.19||0.09||0.09||0.17||0.18||0.13||0.09||0.08||0.09|
|Use Ductless Heat Pump as Secondary Heating Equipment||0.20||0.10||0.06||0.16||0.15||0.12||0.10||Q||Q|
|Heat pump use by household income|
|Less than $5K||$5K-$9.9K||$10K-$19.9K||$20K-$39.9K||$40K-$59.9K||$60K-$99.9K||$100K-$149.9K||$150K+|
|Use Heat Pump as Primary Heating||0.57||0.56||1.46||3.63||3.08||4.05||2.20||2.20|
|Use Ductless Heat Pump as Primary Heating Equipment||Q||Q||Q||0.15||0.07||0.33||0.22||0.18|
| A Luxury Purchase
Notably few if any ductless heat pump users live below the poverty line ($21,960 for a three-family household). There could be several reasons for this, but one is most likely high equipment costs.
|Use Ductless Heat Pump as Secondary Heating Equipment||Q||Q||Q||0.08||0.16||0.18||0.20||0.27|
|Heat pump use by number of household members|
|1 Member||2 Members||3 Members||4 Members||5 or More Members|
|Use Heat Pump as Primary Heating||4.47||7.24||2.39||2.11||1.54|
|Use Ductless Heat Pump as Primary Heating Equipment||0.31||0.43||0.12||0.14||0.12|
|Use Ductless Heat Pump as Secondary Heating Equipment||0.12||0.45||0.11||0.16||0.11|
Q = Data withheld because either the relative standard error (RSE) was greater than 50% or fewer than 10 households were in the reporting sample.
N = No households in reporting sample.