With growing concern about rising heating and cooling costs – not to mention the environmental costs of older, inefficient heating systems – more home and business owners are exploring the possibilities of a heat pump.
Offering energy-efficient heating AND cooling, a properly installed electric heat pump is your one-stop source for a comfortable year-round interior, eliminating the need to install A/C in addition to your heat source, explains Vern Milani, from the Okanagan’s Milani Plumbing, heating and Air Conditioning.
(And even better news for those upgrading their oil, natural gas or propane system to a new, energy-efficient heat pump: A variety of rebates are available from BC Hydro.)
Because a heat pump is electric, those making the switch from fossil fuels will also reduce your environmental footprint.
And even those currently relying on electric baseboard heating will see a significant benefit. According to BC Hydro’s Powersmart, “because heat pumps don’t actually generate heat – rather, they move warm and cool air around – they’re up to 300 per cent more efficient than electric baseboards (and) up to 50 per cent more energy efficient for cooling compared to a typical window AC unit.”
Maintenance and replacement
For those who saw the heat pump advantages early on, with the lifespan of a well-maintained heat pump typically around 15 years, it may be time to consider replacement.
Like any home heating or cooling system, regular maintenance is essential for your heat pump to continue working at optimum efficiency. That includes a regular servicing from a qualified home heating professional, changing and cleaning the air filter approximately every three months, and ensuring air vents and registers remain free from things like carpets and furniture, which can block air flow and reduce the system’s efficiency.
When it’s time to upgrade, heat pumps essentially come in three designs:
- Central – an outdoor unit moves air through the home’s ducting
- Mini-split – also known as ductless heat pumps, these feature an outdoor unit and interior-mounted heads for multi-zone heating or cooling.
- Ducted mini-split – Similar to the mini-split, but with a hidden head (in the attic, for example) with ducting pushing heat or air to different rooms.
Whether you’re looking for your first heat pump or your next heat pump, professional installation is key to ensure you get the right system for your home.