Should you get a heat pump?

Heat Pumps

Installing an energy-efficient heat pump to warm and cool your home or cottage could be a great choice, especially if you’re currently using oil, propane or electric baseboard.

“Pretty soon, heat pumps will take over even from gas,” predicts Frank Cullen, owner of Cullen Heating & Air Conditioning in Oshawa and Port Perry. “It’s going to be a big market for cottages.”

Heat pumps work by taking heat from outside and pushing it inside, and they work even when it’s cold outdoors because there’s enough ambient heat to allow for an efficient exchange. They can also cool your home by expelling warm air outside, becoming both a heat source and a cooling system.

Technology means heat pumps today can warm a home in outdoor temperatures as low as -25C, says Mr. Cullen. They provide a medium to fast source of heat, while they dehumidify more efficiently than air conditioners. Heat pumps can reduce the pollen, dust and dirt in your home that’s often circulated through ductwork.

Operating on principles similar to a refrigerator, the heat pump has refrigerant that flows through connected indoor and outdoor coils. In heating mode, as the liquid refrigerant flows to the outdoor coil, it passes through an expansion valve that creates rapid expansion of the liquid, causing it to become a gas. This results in very rapid cooling of the refrigerant. Then as it flows through the outdoor coil, it is able to absorb heat energy from the air.  Before it flows through the indoor coil, it passes through a compressor where the gas is compressed, increasing both the pressure and the temperature. As it moves through the indoor coils, the gas condenses, releasing latent heat.  

Homeowners living outside areas served by natural gas can save money by opting for a heat pump rather than separate heating and air conditioning systems, points out Mr. Cullen. He says operating costs of a heat pump would be about half the cost of an electric baseboard heating system.

“The technology is now so great,” says Mr. Cullen, whose well-established company has been chosen by heat pump manufacturer LG to serve customers east of Toronto.

A heat pump unit is installed outside, with controls mounted on an indoor wall. They operate quietly, and require no ductwork. People can use WiFi to turn the system on if they are enroute to the cottage, and Mr. Cullen points out that homeowners renting out basement apartments will find cooking smells don’t circulate through ductwork when using a heat pump.

Currently, there are significant government rebates on offer to those choosing to install a heat pump system.

Air-source heat pumps require specialized design and installation, and homeowners should use a contractor experienced in their installation, such as Cullen Heating & Air Conditioning.

Located at 577 Ritson Road South, Cullen Heating & Air Conditioning has been serving Durham Region homeowners since 1985, to top reviews. The company provides a full range of services for residential comfort, including furnace installation, custom ductwork, supply and installation of water heaters, and air conditioning units.

Call Cullen Heating & Air Conditioning at 905-725-9731, or schedule an appointment online.