- What exactly does a heat pump do?
- What is the most popular type of heat pump?
- What should I know before buying a heat pump?
- What is a low temperature heat pump?
- What is the benefit of a low temperature heat pump?
- How do I determine the best sizing of a heat pump?
- What are the installation costs for an air-to-air heat pump?
- What sort of maintenance is required?
- Does a heat pump consume less energy than other heating units?
- Cautionary Note
The heat pump is an electrical device that transfers heat from one place to another.
A heat pump can serve as both a heating and air conditioning system. Some heat pumps can also provide hot water for your home.
With our cold winter weather, however, a heat pump cannot meet all your heating requirements. It needs to be combined with a supplementary heating system. At a certain temperature, however, the parallel heating system takes over, when the heat pump is not sufficient.
In defrost mode, it can release fresh air into your home.
The most popular category at present is the air-to-air or air-air heat pump, which is installed in homes that have a hot air heating system. The less common type is the air-to-water heat pump, which is combined with a hot water heating system.
A low temperature heat pump (also known as a "cold climate" heat pump) can heat a home even when the outside temperature is very low. It is an excellent heating solution that is perfectly suited to Quebec's wintry climate.
Like other heat pumps, a low temperature heat pump also provides air conditioning for the home.
Several Transition énergétique Québec programs offer financial assistance for installing a low temperature heat pump. The model must be included on the list of eligible models.
Standard heat pump models are unable to meet your heating needs in extremely cold weather and another heating system (such as an electric system) has to take over. Just like its name says, a low temperature heat pump can heat a home even when the outside temperature is very low. It is a heating solution that is perfectly suited to Quebec's climate.
- The operational life of a heat pump varies between 10 and 15 years.
- Your electrical entrance panel must be able to support a heat pump hook-up.
- Some heat pumps are noisy. Before making your selection, verify your municipal by-laws regarding heat pump location and acceptable noise levels.
- The heat pump-boiler combination leads over time to increased maintenance costs because your heating system consists of two separate units.
The cost of installing an air-to-air heat pump depends on the type of heat pump and your home’s existing heating system. There will be additional charges if the network of conduits needs to be modified or if you need to upgrade the electrical service panel because of increased power demands. The efficient operation and durability of a heat pump depends primarily on good maintenance, which should be done in the autumn. The compressor is the most vulnerable element. A heat pump consumes less energy than a conventional system, but is more expensive to buy.
Heat pump maintenance begins with cleaning the outdoor evaporator coil with a garden hose, and then cleaning or replacing the air return filter in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Make sure that water, snow and ice on the roof of your house does not fall on the heat pump fan. If the unit is exposed to strong winds, build a windbreak around it.
To maximize your heat pump’s performance, make sure that it is properly sized, or in other words, powerful enough to meet your heating needs. Although merchants tend to suggest an ideal sizing for summer weather, it is essential that you choose a model with a larger sizing that can heat your space in winter.
You should take several variables into consideration, such as:
- the surface area and volume of the house;
- the configuration and orientation of the house;
- the geographical location;
- the type of construction;
- the degree of insulation and air tightness;
- the dimensions, type and orientation of the windows.
To properly calculate your heating needs, ask a heating profession who is accredited by the Corporation des maîtres mécaniciens en tuyauterie du Québec (CMMTQ). We suggest that you contact more than one professional to check and confirm the answers you receive.
Yes. A heat pump consumes less energy than other heating units and costs less to operate. However, it does not produce heat. It extracts air from the outside and pumps it into the house. That’s why it consumes less energy than it displaces. For 1 watt of electricity consumed at an outdoor temperature of 8°C, an air-to-air heat pump releases 3 watts into your house. You therefore get 2 free watts of electricity.
But energy savings in terms of heating are often diminished or cancelled by the additional energy expenditures required for air conditioning during the summer. The rigours of our climate also significantly reduce the performance of heat pumps. If they are installed in homes that are not airtight or are poorly insulated, the energy gains will be even more limited.
Expectations about the greater energy efficiency of a heat pump and the money that will be saved must be realistic, for certain points have to be taken into consideration:
- climate and geographic location;
- the house envelope;
- the surface area to be heated;
- your consumption needs;
- saving energy is not synonymous with saving money;
- other costs entailed in the purchase of a heat pump;
- the supplementary heating system required.
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