If you're looking for ways to cut your heating bill, consider that heating and cooling account for about half of your home energy use. Also, the easiest way to take a bite out of that part of your bill is with an energy-efficient heat pump.
A heat pump is the most efficient heating machine on the market. For every dollar of electricity you put into a heat pump, you get back $2 to $4 of heat. That's energy efficiency! Plus, a heat pump also acts as a central air conditioner in summer, giving you year-round comfort.
How much do heat pumps really save?
That varies by family, of course, but if you are using an electric furnace, you should be able to save between one-half and one-third on your heating costs. You could switch to another fuel and lower your heating costs; however, you would not have the comfort of air conditioning during summer months.
How does a heat pump work?
Instead of making heat, a heat pump extracts it from the outside. Your refrigerator is a good example of a one-way heat pump. It removes heat from the air inside the refrigerator and moves it to the coils on the outside (back or bottom) of the refrigerator.
Have you ever felt the warm air that blows out from under your refrigerator when it's running? A heat pump uses this same principle-extracting heat from the air and moving it to where it's needed.
An air-to-air heat pump extracts heat from outside air. And amazingly, even in winter the air holds heat, even when the outside temperature gets down to zero degrees F.
A ground-source heat pump removes heat from the ground, which stays about 55 degrees F year-round. Loops of flexible pipe are buried in trenches four to six feet underground. The pipe is filled with a liquid that absorbs heat from the ground and transfers it inside.
Ground-source heat pumps typically cost more to install than air-to-air heat pumps, but they are the most efficient heating choice because of their heat source-the earth itself. But ground-source heat pumps make the most sense to use in colder temperature areas. Air source heat pumps increase
energy efficiency in areas where the winter low temperatures rarely
drop below -18C, such as the lower mainland of British Columbia.
Are Heat Pumps Really That Efficient?
Since a heat pump only moves heat from the outdoors into your home,
rather than creating heat by burning a fuel, it can operate at
efficiencies of over 100%. A typical heat pump we install is rated at
about 400% efficiency at 8oC. This means that about 4 watts of heat are
created for every watt of electricity it consumes, and this can mean
big savings on utility bills. BC Hydro estimated that a heat pump will
reduce heating costs by 57% when upgrading from a standard efficiency
If I buy a heat pump, do I still need an air conditioner?
No! One of the biggest advantages to a heat pump is that it becomes an air conditioner in summer. Instead of moving the heat inside, it reverses operation and collects the heat from inside the house and moves it outside. All you need to do is change the settings on your thermostat.