A heat pump can provide year-round climate control and be a great addition to improve the energy efficiency of your home.
Heat pumps are electrical devices that extract heat from one place and transfer it to another by circulating a substance called refrigerant. A heat pump can provide year-round climate control and be a great addition to improve the energy efficiency of your home.
In general, it is not recommended to use a heat pump to meet all of your heating requirements. In Canada, our cold climate means that we require more energy to provide heating than cooling. If the heat pump is sized to meet 100% of your heating needs, it will be too large to meet your cooling needs and will only work intermittently. As a result, heat pumps are usually installed with supplementary heating, such as an oil furnace or electric-resistance heaters. However, with a heat pump, your heating or air conditioning system doesn't need to work nearly as hard.
There are two main types of heat pumps:
Air-Source Heat Pumps
Air-source heat pumps provide heat to a home or building by extracting heat from the outside air and transferring it inside during the heating season (winter). They also provide cooling by removing heat from the inside air and transferring it outside during the summer.
In general, an air-source heat pump can be installed to meet about 80-90% of your annual heating requirements.
Additionally, ductless mini-split heat pumps are becoming more prominent in the Canadian market. These devices are ideal for retrofits to homes or buildings with electric baseboard heaters because they are wall-mounted units that can be installed in up to four individual rooms, depending on the unit. Heat pumps designed for Newfoundland and Labrador's climate can deliver over 200% more heat than an equivalent baseboard heating system.
To view some of the most efficient air-source heat pumps available in the Canadian market, visit ENERGY STAR's website.
Ground-Source Heat Pumps
Ground-source heat pumps extract heat from the ground or groundwater and transfer the heat inside. They also provide cooling during the summer by transferring heat from inside the house to the ground. These types of systems have two parts: a circuit of underground piping outside the house and a heat pump unit inside the house. The outdoor piping system can be either an open system or a closed loop. An open system absorbs heat from an underground body of water and a closed system circulates a refrigerant to collect heat from the soil.
A ground-source heat pump can be installed to supply up to about 95% of your total space heating and water heating needs.
On average, ground-source heat pumps provide more savings than air-source heat pumps, but the installation costs are much higher. As a result, the payback period for a ground-source heat pump can be much longer, meaning it will take longer to recover your initial investment.