In decades past, Canadians who wanted to convert to a heat pump-based air conditioning and heating system have struggled to find a unit that could handle our temperature extremes.
However, today’s heat pump technology has advanced to the point where heat pumps are now a viable option for Ontario homes and businesses.
Heat pumps also offer some pretty incredible savings over conventional air conditioning and furnace systems. Not only are heat pumps cheaper to maintain, but also they function as an all-inclusive HVAC system. Plus, they are more energy-efficient to operate and kinder to our planet, too.
In this post, we take a direct look at the benefits of installing a heat pump-based HVAC system versus a conventional A/C and furnace system. By the end of this post, you may be sold on the heat pump, just as we are!
Heat Pumps Harvest Renewable Energy
Heat pumps, as you might expect, operate by moving heat. In the summer, heat is moved outside to keep you cool. In the winter, heat is moved inside to keep you warm.
This heat energy—thermal energy—can come from the air, the water, the ground or a combination. Without a heat pump to make use of it, all that thermal energy simply goes wasted.
Some heat pump systems operate on pure thermal energy, while other hybrid systems are set up to work in concert with traditional cooling and heating appliances during temperature extremes.
Heat pumps can be configured to work with residential or commercial spaces of any size and can even be used for zoned heating and cooling.
Heat Pumps Keep Your Energy Costs Low
It is true that the initial investment into a heat pump (appliance plus installation) can be pricier than a conventional HVAC system replacement. But once up and running, a heat pump can pay for itself in short order.
This no doubt accounts for the steady increase in heat pump popularity, according to the National Energy Board of Canada (NEB).
In fact, the NEB reports that nearly three-quarters of a million heat pump units have been installed in homes across Canada since 2000, more than a half -million of which have been installed in Ontario and Quebec.
The NEB reports that the average residential heat pump system can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $8,000 to install, depending on the type of system and the size of your space. Keep in mind here that a heat pump system is both air conditioning and heat in one!
And then, right from day one of operation, you stand to save 50 to 60 percent of your home cooling and heating energy costs. So now let’s look at what that actually means in terms of your monthly and annual energy savings.
A recent report from the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario indicates that average energy costs annually for Ontario homeowners hover around $2,358.
Approximately 60 percent of that, or $1,414, goes to control the temperature (hot, cold) inside your home.
Assuming you save 50 percent on your energy costs annually once you install a heat pump system, your annual energy cost is now $707 with an annual savings of $707.
If you use a historically expensive fuel such as heating oil, your savings may be quite a bit higher, as one family’s experience shows. This family went from spending $3,000 per year on heating oil to between $500 and $600 on electricity to power their new heat pump. That’s a savings of more than $2,500 per year!
Ontario Offers Rebates for Heat Pump Installation
Save on Energy, Canada’s conservation program, is currently offering rebates to homeowners and small-business owners who elect to purchase and install an air source heat pump, or ASHP.
The air source heat pump must be certified as energy-efficient, which means it is rated as a SEER 15/HSP 8.5/EER 12.5.
The home or small business must also use electricity as the primary energy source (70 percent or greater use).
The homeowner or small business owner must work with an approved contractor to purchase and install the new heat pump system. The contractor will then submit the required paperwork so that the homeowner or business owner will receive the rebate.
When you are able to meet these minimum criteria for participation, you become eligible to receive up to $4,000 in rebate funds for installing a new air source heat pump system (offer good through December 31, 2018).
A Word About Hybrid Heat Pump Systems
As heat pump technology continues to improve, there remain only a handful of days annually when your new heat pump system may not be able to handle heating duties on its own. This is because, like many older, traditional heating systems, heat pumps are engineered to work efficiently at or above -15 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit).
Some air source heat pumps may shut themselves off below their operational threshold, while others will simply begin to draw more energy to do the same job. Your contractor can help you select the type of heat pump system that will maximize energy savings for your local climate.
Many homeowners and small-business owners living in colder areas will adopt a hybrid heat pump system that uses a backup furnace (often gas-powered) to provide heating on the few days each year the heat pump may not be up to the task.
This is an important aspect to discuss with your contractor, especially as seasonal weather becomes less predictable with the onset of climate change.
Get in Touch
Are you ready to learn more about how heat pumps can help you save up to half of your annual heating and cooling energy costs?
We are a Save on Energy-approved contractor and we can help you select the right heat pump system, install it properly and apply for your rebate funds!