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What is a heat pump?
Put simply, a heat pump is a home comfort system that works as both a heater and air conditioner, depending on how the temperature is set.
They run on electricity, rather than gas, and provide year-round home comfort, acting as an all-in-one solution for heating and cooling when you need either one.
Heat pumps can be either ducted or ductless, and single-zone (one room) or multi-zone (multiple rooms).
These systems are cost-effective, energy-efficient, space-saving and easy to use.
How do heat pumps work?
The heat pump (don’t be fooled by its name!) acts as a two-in-one home comfort system that both heats and cools the air in the room where it’s installed.
It does this by pulling heat from one source (i.e., the air outside) to another (i.e., your living room).
In the summer, a heat pump simply reverses the heat exchange process to cool your home instead of heat it.
Heat pumps deliver hot or cool air through either ducted or ductless systems.
An example of a ductless system is a mounted wall unit.
What’s the difference between a heat pump and ductless air conditioning system?
Fun fact: they’re the same thing!
A heat pump is the same thing as a ductless air conditioner, also known as a split ductless or mini split ductless.
These are all interchangeable synonyms for one another, and all of them refer to the same type of heating system.
However, it’s important to note that not all heat pumps are ductless: they can also work on a ducted delivery system.
Is a heat pump the same thing as a furnace?
Not quite. A heat pump and a furnace can both heat the air in your home, but they do it differently.
Typically, furnace systems use forced air to heat your home through ventilation.
Heat pumps use a different delivery method called heat transfer: they pull warm air from outside and transfer it inside to keep you warm in the winter.
If you have a heat pump, however – whether it’s ducted or ductless – it’s enough to act as a full-service home heating solution all season long.
Is a heat pump the same thing as a central air conditioning system?
Similar to its function as a home furnace replacement, a heat pump can cool your home, but it does so differently than a central air conditioning system.
To cool your home, a heat pump uses reverses the heat exchange process that it uses to heat your home in the winter, so you get cold air instead of hot air indoors.
And just like its potential as a heating solution, a heat pump is enough to keep you comfortable at home all summer long.
How is a heat pump operated?
Heat pumps are absolute set-it-and-forget-it systems.
They operate either with a push of a button or with a remote control.
Just set your system to the temperature you prefer, and it does the rest.
Are heat pumps energy efficient?
Yes, heat pumps are energy efficient systems.
As they’re powered by electricity rather than gas, homeowners can save substantially on fuel consumption.
They’re over 100% efficient in more temperature climates, too, such as British Columbia.
What is the size of a heat pump?
A heat pump is like the infant brother of a traditional furnace.
It’s about the size of two or three breadboxes linked together.
That makes for a very compact, space-saving home comfort.
Where would a heat pump be installed on my property?
The exterior unit is installed outdoors, just like a central air conditioner.
The head of a heat pump system, however – how it delivers hot and cold air to rooms in your home – is very versatile, and can be installed inside on a wall, floor or ceiling.
Can I still install a heat pump in my home or cottage if I have no ductwork?
Yes, you can!
Types of heat pumps are also known as ductless air conditioners, named so because – you guessed it! – they don’t need ductwork to function.
(Don’t let the air conditioners part fool you: they also work perfectly well to keep you warm in the winter.)
If you’re looking for a ductless heating and cooling method at home , rest assured: heat pumps are the perfect solution.
My home or cottage doesn’t have a lot of space. Will a heat pump system fit?
Good news: heat pumps work well in residences where a furnace won’t fit, due to their compact size.
In addition to their energy efficiency, cost-saving and 2-in-1 home comfort solution, heat pumps are a great space saving solution for smaller homes or cottages.
One of the rooms in my house is always hot or cold, even with a fan, AC unit, or furnace. Can a heat pump help?
Heat pumps work on zoned heating. That means they heat any rooms in which they have a delivery system, a unit called a head.
Installing a single head heat pump would make those temperature-stubborn rooms much more comfortable.
Can a heat pump be installed for more than one room in my home or cottage?
Yes, you can install multiple heat pumps or “heads” at your residence.
Heat pump systems come with options for a single zone or multi zone.
Which one you choose will determine how many heads you have, and how many rooms your system will heat or cool through the year.
A head is the part of the system that delivers the hot or cold air to a room.
A single-zone heat pump system is just what it sounds like: one unit, one head, to heat and cool one room – or zone – of your house.
A multi-zone unit consists of more than one head connected to a single heat pump unit.
This approach allows you to heat and cool multiple rooms – or zones – of your house.
Can heat pumps work in colder climates?
Yes, there are cold climate heat pumps.
These work well for provinces that don’t have lengthy cold snaps (long stretches of -18°C or lower).
I have a furnace. Can I still install a heat pump to heat and cool other rooms?
Thanks to their zoned heating delivery system, even with a furnace in place, you can still have a single head heat pump system installed to heat and cool other rooms.
This works well for rooms that always seem to be too hot or too cold at the wrong time of year.
How do I switch a heat pump from ‘heating’ to ‘cooling’ when the season changes?
No sweat: this process is entirely automatic! There’s no switch needed to flip your heat pump from winter to summer.
Use the unit’s remote control to simply set the desired temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit, sit back, relax, and enjoy.