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The main drawback with heat pumps is that you are substituting one utility bill for another- you must have West Penn Electric and not Duquesne. If you are on a boiler system then it may have some merits.
The way I beat Equitable was with a 90+ furnace. It decreased my gas bills to less than half of what they were-10 years ago. My highest reading this winter was $82 (I am not on the budget). The furnace paid for itself in about three years time. In fact for the first two years they sent inspectors to check and replace my gas meter since they assumed I was tampering with it (an easy job by the way). Also make sure that you are well insulated or nothing is going to help the bills.
Stop by and look at the site at http://www.shoppittsburgh.net
Heat Pumps are good for warmer zones.
Most units have 3 stages of toaster-mode, representing each of 3 resistance heat coils that glow much like a toaster does.
By 17 degrees, all 3 coils will be on, and your electric meter wheel will be spinning at about 27,000 rpm.