Sorry for posting this question as part of an existing thread...

We live in Springfield, IL, and have a relatively new (going into 3rd season) 80% efficient Rheem gas furnace. It's paired with a 13 year old Lennox scroll compressor a/c only unit using R22. I think its SEER rating is about 11 or 12. With natural gas prices expected to significantly rise, I wonder if it makes sense to replace the outdoor unit with a heat pump. We plan to live in this house for probably 6 or 7 years, possibly longer. I don't want my natural gas bills to go out of control, but don't want to be investing in an expensive upgrade and not have it pay for itself by energy savings during the time we still live here. I have a friend who works for our power company who is encouraging me to buy a heat pump, but I'm reluctant to spend the money and endure the inconvenience of installation, which would entail replacement of the copper tubing to handle r410a, and a new A-coil. Advice or posts to direct me to? My winter gas and electric bills combined averaged about $200 per month last year. Thanks.