Heat pumps are an integral part of efficient hybrid heating and cooling systems that can reduce your energy costs while significantly reducing green house gases. Heat pumps can be used in retrofitting existing oil, gas or electric forced air furnaces or providing a complete hybrid heating and cooling system for new construction. Incorporating a state of the art electronic thermostatic controller, the most efficient heat source is used for heating your home. A heat pump can provide about 90% of your home heating requirements with back up heating used only about 10% of the time when the Island experiences those rare, exceptional cold days. The cost of heating with a heat pump system could be as low as $350.00 per year for a 2000 sq. ft. home.
Vancouver Island is one of the best places in Canada to use a heat pump for heating your home because of our temperate climate. Like your refrigerator, heat pumps use electricity to move heat from a cool space into a warm, making the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer. During the heating season, heat pumps move heat from the cool outdoors into your warm house; during the cooling season, heat pumps move heat from your cool house into the warm outdoors. Because they move heat rather than generate heat, heat pumps can provide up to 4 times the amount of energy they consume.
The most common type of heat pump is the air-source heat pump, which transfers heat between your house and the outside air. If you heat with electricity, a heat pump can trim the amount of electricity you use for heating by as much as 30%–40%. High-efficiency heat pumps also dehumidify better than standard central air conditioners, resulting in less energy usage and more cooling comfort in summer months. However, the efficiency of most air-source heat pumps as a heat source drops dramatically at low temperatures, generally making them unsuitable for cold climates, although there are systems that can overcome that problem.
For homes without ducts, air-source heat pumps are also available in a ductless version called a mini-split heat pump. In addition, a special type of air-source heat pump called a “reverse cycle chiller” generates hot and cold water rather than air, allowing it to be used with radiant hydronic heating.