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The Boonstra Blog


What is a heat pump and is it right for my home?

A heat pump, put simply, is an electrical device that extracts heat from one place and transfers it to another. During cooler months, it will move heat still present in outdoor air, into your home. During warmer months, the cycle reverses, and the heat pump will move heat from inside your home to the outdoors, acting like an air conditioner.

In terms of heating and cooling, and in our Southern Ontario climate, a heat pump is used in conjunction with your furnace and air conditioning. It runs mainly during the spring and autumn. In the more extreme temperatures of summer and winter, your furnace and air conditioner will kick in.

An air-source heat pump is the most common type found in Canadian homes where ductwork is present. For homes with no ductwork, an alternative option is a ductless mini split heat pump. In this scenario, a cartridge is mounted on the wall in the specific room(s) you would like to heat and cool. An outside system is installed, and up to eight indoor wall-mounted cartridges can be served by this one unit.

Advantages of using a heat pump

  • A heat pump can minimize the use of your main heating and cooling systems and therefore reduce bills for homes using oil or electric furnaces.
  • A heat pump moves heat instead of generating heat, which uses less electricity and thereby creating more energy efficiency.

Disadvantages of using a heat pump

  • A heat pump is only effective on its own down to temperatures around -5 to -10 degrees Celsius, at which point, your furnace needs to kick in to heat your home.
  • Savings using natural gas or propane far outweigh the cost of a using a heat pump in conjunction with an electric or oil furnace.

Boonstra Heating and Air Conditioning can take the guesswork out of deciding if a heat pump is right for your home. Contact us today to book an appointment with one of our expert Home Comfort Advisors.

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