All about air source heat pumps
HOW THEY CAN HELP YOU SAVE ENERGY
Looking for an energy-efficient heating and cooling system? Consider an air source heat pump. They transfer heat in the air from one place to another, using up to 30% less energy than standard electric heating systems. Air source heat pumps efficiently regulate the temperature in your home, working most efficiently when your thermostat is at a consistent temperature setting.
HOW AN AIR SOURCE HEAT PUMP WORKS
An air source heat pump typically has both an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. As air travels between the units, a compressor circulates a high-pressure liquid refrigerant that absorbs and releases heat—the same process as your refrigerator. In winter, heat is pulled from the outdoor air to warm your home. In the summer months, it works in reverse, pushing warm air outside to cool your home.
CONVENTIONAL VERSUS COLD CLIMATE
There are two kinds of air source heat pumps: conventional and cold climate. While conventional heat pumps shut off when the outdoor temperature reaches -10°C, cold climate heat pumps can operate down to -25°C, depending on the manufacturer’s specifications. For that reason, cold climate air source heat pumps are more suitable in Manitoba.
It’s important to note that when it becomes too cold outside, an auxiliary heating source is required to maintain the warmth in your home. Air source heat pump output and performance reduces significantly as the temperature decreases. Ice can build up on the outdoor unit and automatically activate a defrost cycle. This reverses the air flow, pushing warm air through the outdoor coil to melt built up ice and should take only a few minutes.
WHICH TYPE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
Air source heat pumps come in centrally ducted and ductless models. The best design for your needs depends on your existing heat source and building size.
A centrally ducted heat pump uses forced-air ducting to distribute heating and cooling throughout your home. This allows air to reach individual rooms and heat the whole house. Your existing ducting may require modifications to support the heat pump system.
If your home uses heating from baseboards or a radiator, you likely don’t have ducting installed. In this case, a ductless air source heat pump would suit your needs.
We sometimes refer to ductless units as either mini-split or multi-split. A mini-split heat pump has one outdoor unit and one indoor head, usually mounted on the wall. To warm your entire home, you’ll need multiple indoor heads. This is called a multi- split.
A ductless air source heat pump is also a good option if part of your home requires additional heating and cooling or has an open concept floor plan. They’re also generally more affordable as they don’t require ductwork.
Before upgrading to an air source heat pump, our building science experts recommend you invest in your home’s envelope to reduce your heating and cooling needs. This can include air sealing, insulation, and windows and doors. Your contractor can help you determine if there are any improvements you should make prior to installing an air source heat pump.
Once you’re ready to upgrade your heating system, we recommend getting quotes from at least three of our registered suppliers. The cost of installing an air source heat pump depends on the type of system, existing heating equipment, and ductwork in your home.
An air source heat pump system is more expensive to install than a conventional heating and air conditioning system, but your annual heating costs can be lower than electric, propane, or fuel oil heating.
We also offer rebates on select ductless and centrally ducted air source heat pumps! Be sure to check the list of eligible heat pumps and send us your application for approval before purchasing your heat pump or starting any work.