What's a Heat Pump?
A heat pump is a device that uses a small amount of energy to move heat from one location to another. If you know how an air conditioner works, you already know a lot about how a heat pump works, because heat pumps and air conditioners operate in very similar ways. A heat pump is also environmentally friendly and works very efficiently because they simply transfer heat, rather than burning fuel to create the heat.
A heat pump is like an air conditioner that can also run in reverse. It also works a lot like a fridge. Your fridge removes heat from the near-freezing inside air and expels it out the bottom or back of the unit into the warmer kitchen air. A heat pump is like a fridge but has a much greater capacity to move heat. On a cool day, it can remove heat from the cooler air outdoors and move it into your home. The cycle can be reversed in the summer so that heat is being removed from your home to the outdoors.
Important: A heat pump can produce a lot of heat very efficiently at temperatures above 4 degree C. Its efficiency and output capacity can drop off below this point. A typical house does not have a large enough power supply to run a proper size heat pump to heat the house below-freezing temperatures. For this reason, most heat pumps are installed as a package with a high efficiency furnace, unless the customer already has an efficient furnace.
How much can I save on Heating Costs with a Heat Pump?
A heat pump only moves heat from the outdoors into your home, rather than creating heat by burning fossil fuels, which can significantly reduce your energy costs.
SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) and HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) are measures of efficiency for heat pumps. SEER and HSPF ratings are like miles per gallon in cars - the higher the rating, the more energy efficient the unit and the more money you save. Potential energy savings may vary depending on your lifestyle, system settings, equipment maintenance, local climate, home construction and installation of equipment and duct system.