Are you tired of spending all your money on keeping your home at the right temperature?
Doesn’t matter if you’re dealing with warm or cold climates, there is a way to keep perfectly comfortable all year long and save some extra cash while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It’s called an air source heat pump, and it’s one of the best systems a homeowner can get. We go through all the details in this guide to heat pumps that every homeowner should read!
What is a Heat Pump?
A heat pump is a dual-purpose system that acts as a high-efficiency air conditioner in the summer, and a heater in the winter. They run on electrical heat energy and are capable of either working with your existing ductwork or serving as a ductless system. We know what you’re thinking: electricity is expensive.
But most cold climate heat pumps are designed to be more efficient and will lower the costs for homeowners using propane, oil, or electric furnaces. There are different types that will integrate with your current heating if need be, such as water source heat pumps, or ground source heat pumps.
3 Types of Heat Pumps
1. Air Source Heat Pump: Pulls the warmth out of the air in the room to use as a source of thermal energy in heating mode, and as a sink to reject energy when in cooling mode. They are quiet systems that can be either ducted or ductless and have an indoor and outdoor unit.
2. Water Source Heat Pump: Less common in Canada and are used in homes with water-based systems such as radiators and radiant floors. Functioning in the same way as Air Source pumps, but warming and cooling the water circulating through the system.
3. Ground Source Heat Pump: Use the heat in the earth or groundwater as a source of energy when in the heating season, and as a sink to reject energy when in the cooling season. These are also known as geothermal heat pumps.
How Do Air Source Heat Pumps Work?
The most common example of a heat pump is your refrigerator. It extracts any warm air from inside your fridge, and sends it through the pump and out through the coils at the bottom (or at the back). That’s how your favourite foods stay so nice and cool – and why you may feel a warm spot on the floor in front of your fridge.
This type of heat pump works the same way: they absorb heat from your home in the summer, leaving you nice and cool. In the winter, it extracts heat from the cold air and will transfer heat into the ducts or to create hot water if using a water source.
They’re set up exactly like an air conditioning unit is circulated through heat exchangers and a compressor. It even hooks up to your thermostat in the exact same way.
The Benefits of Air Source Heat Pumps
This heat pump system comes with a long list of benefits: most of them you’ll notice immediately.
1. They’re Environmentally-Friendly and Energy Efficient
Air pumps have a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) that makes them incredibly friendly to the environment. They don’t burn fossil fuels, so you’ll reduce your carbon footprint when you use them. It’s also an incredibly efficient heating system. This heat pump system has a coefficient of performance (COP) of about 1.8 or higher. That means they’re 180% more efficient than standard electric resistance heaters. Some can even have a COP of 2.4, which means they’re 240% more efficient! This makes them great homeowners in the GTA who are on propane, oil, or electric systems.
Sounds Great for Summer – But What About Winter?
The cool part about air source heat pump systems is that they can work in reverse: they’ll pull heat from the air outside, and use it to warm your home in the winter. It’s true: heat can be pulled from the air even when it’s below 0°C.
This sounds well and good. But this is Canada: we know how cold it can get.
You can use air source heat pump technology in our winters: but the lower the temperature gets, the less heating efficiency your heat pump has. It’s why we recommend to anyone getting a heat pump that they keep their furnace.
“We can program your thermostat so that it will choose the system that will save you the most money,” Dr. HVAC’s owner Brendon Aldridge explains.
You’ll use your furnace a lot less (which means less $$$ on your bills), but you’ll definitely want it on those super cold Canadian winter days when your heat pump needs a hand.
2. You Get 2 Systems in One Heat Pump
This benefit is so great it’s worth mentioning again: you get 2 systems in one! A super-duper high efficient air conditioner, and an excellent heater in the spring and fall. In the winter, there may be not enough hot air being product from your heat pump.
3. Heat Pumps Last a Long, Long Time
Heat pumps are with you for the long haul. They last between 15 – 20 years with the right care. A heat pump system is also simple to install. But you need the right installation company to avoid costly mistakes and regret.
4. Heat Pump Maintenance is Minimal
The only thing this heating system needs to stay operational all year long is an annual maintenance appointment. With our premium maintenance packages, you’ll barely have to think about it.
What Size Heat Pump Do I Need?
The answer to this question will depend on your specific home’s situation. Having a heat pump that is too small will mean it will turn on more often or even need to rely on backup heating methods, especially when outdoor temperatures drop extremely low. A heat pump that is too large will short cycle and eat into your energy savings, and produce excess heat when air temperatures are already high enough!
Get an HVAC professional to evaluate your heating a cooling system and recommend the best heat pumps based on your typical outside air temperature we will suggest one with the best heating seasonal performance factor, and work with any current systems you’d like to keep. The right information and the right size will greatly increase your heat pump’s ability to keep your home comfortable.
How Long Does a Heat Pump Last?
Overall, heat pumps last an average of 15 years. Keep in mind these systems are for both heating and cooling and are used all year, instead of seasonally like air conditioners. Heat pumps range between 10 and 20 years, the main factor of improved lifespan being proper maintenance and installing the right-sized unit.
Trusted Heat Pump Brands:
Trane Heat Pumps. Holding the title of most Reliable Heat Pump Brand in North America for years, Trance is an easy answer for your home. As a Certified Trane Comfort Specialist, Dr HVAC has been proud to pair our stellar customer satisfaction with Trane to heat your homes in the GTA. Extensively tested and reviewed to have some of the quietest models that help you save on energy bills with superior heating and cooling efficiency.
Mitsubishi Heat Pumps. Mitsubishi is known for its Cold Climate heat pump line – Zuba. With ductless and central models, their heat pump system is capable of heating down to -30C, meaning you won’t have to rely on backup heat sources, saving energy and heating oil or natural gas from your backup unit. These models are extremely quiet and have options that will fit into every home. All Mitsubishi units come with a 10-year warranty and most of their Zuba line models qualify for the Canada Greener Homes Loan. Some say they supply the best heat pump for cold weather.
Napoleon Heat Pumps. Napoleon heat pumps are advanced heating and cooling systems that offer high efficiency by utilizing electricity to transfer heat between indoor and outdoor environments. These heat pumps are engineered to ensure year-round comfort and significant energy savings. In the winter, they extract heat from the outdoor air or ground to warm indoor spaces, and in the summer, they reverse the process to cool indoor spaces.
Now Air Source Heat Pumps Are More Affordable Than Ever
The Canada Greener Homes Grant is an incentive put in place by the Canadian government to encourage homeowners to lower their carbon footprint while saving money on bills and living more comfortably. The grant offers rebates in energy-saving upgrades around your home. The two main parts to this are:
- An initial EnerGuide evaluation by a registered energy advisor where they provide a report for the best efficiency upgrades for your home.
- A rebate of as much as $5,000, for qualifying upgrades, is given once the changes and retrofits are done and a new EnerGuide evaluation is done to measure your home’s improvement.
Heat pumps are considered an energy-efficient retrofit for the purpose of the Canada Greener Homes Grant in 2023 and part or all of the heat pumps cost may be covered.
Make the Switch with Dr. HVAC Today
Are you ready to start saving real money on your energy bill? We can help you make the switch to the heat pump heating system that is right for your home and your heating and cooling needs. Your heat pump installation will be fully quoted before beginning work, and our professionals can advise how to combine existing heating and cooling systems such as a ductless heat pump system, baseboard heaters, and what the best heat pump is for your home’s efficient heating.