Heat Pumps have drastically changed over the last 5 years – and they continue to improve as the demand for environmentally friendly heating and cooling options grows.
Today’s heat pump can go down to minus 30 Celsius outside and still provide heat inside. Best of all the same heat pump also provides cooling in the summer time replacing your central air conditioner.
On the down side they are more expensive than a furnace or central air conditioner and there are no savings when it comes to operating costs (a heat pump uses electricity – the greenest energy we have in Canada, but electricity is more expensive than natural gas in operating costs).
So why switch if it cost more?
Because it’s good for the planet. People who are concerned with green house gases causing global warming will want to do whatever is possible to make a difference to their carbon footprint now rather than waiting until the government forces change (it is coming!).
Home heating is the 2nd highest contributor to a homeowners carbon footprint (the biggest contributor to our carbon footprint is our transportation – switching to an electric or hybrid vehicle will have the biggest impact on reducing our carbon footprint).
So what is a heat pump?
A heat pump looks like a central air conditioner sitting outside your house – only they offer sleeker designs that take up much less space. They run lines inside the house that hook up to an interior fan (usually a furnace fan). In the winter time it pulls heat from outdoors and releases that heat indoors, in the summer time it pulls heat from indoors and releases that heat outdoors. Thus the same unit cools the home in the summer and heats the home in the winter.
Only until very recently were heat pumps actually able to heat your house in the winter – previous models only went down to minus 5°C (newer models go down to minus 30°C). This means that during the fall and spring when temperatures are not extremely cold you can run a heat pump leaving your furnace completely off during the transition from fall to winter and from winter to spring. Instead of running your furnace for 6 months – you only end up running it on the coldest of days (typically 2 to 4 weeks for the whole season).