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4 things to consider when getting a heat pump

If you’ve read our article about choosing the right heat pump, and you want to know more, we’re going to explore 4 things you should consider next.

1. Your current heating load

Your heating load is the amount of heating that your home needs - largely based on your home’s size - in order to maintain the indoor temperature at established levels. If you’re buying and installing a heat pump in B.C., and you want to be eligible for a rebate, it needs to be your primary heating system, with the capacity to heat a minimum of 50% of your home to 21ºC for the entire heating season.

To decide which system would be most suitable, ask your contractor to do a heat load analysis of your home. They can also help you to select a heat pump from our list of qualified products.

2. The level of efficiency

If you’ve read about different types of heat pumps, you’ll also want to consider how efficient your heat pump needs to be - especially to be eligible for a rebate.

There are multiple factors that can affect efficiency, such as:

  • Your heat pump’s HSPF rating (higher is more efficient at heating)

  • Your heat pump’s SEER rating (higher is more efficient at cooling)

  • How well insulated your home is

  • How warm (or cold) you like your home

  • How air-tight and correctly sized your ducting is (if you’re considering a central heat pump)

  • How well you maintain your heat pump

  • How often you adjust the settings (a heat pump works best if you just set it and forget it)

  • How well your system has been installed

You’ll also need to choose which type of compressor you want. Heat pumps with variable speed compressors are more efficient than those with single-speed or two-speed compressors.

While you’ll typically pay a higher upfront cost for a heat pump with a variable speed compressor, the higher efficiency means it’ll use less electricity and cost less to run than a less efficient single-speed or two-speed model.

To be eligible for a rebate from BC Hydro and CleanBC, your heat pump can be either a mini split or central unit, but it must have a variable speed compressor. Take a look at our heat pump rebates page for more information.

3. Your home’s insulation and ducting

Like any heating system, the more insulated your home is, the more efficient your heat pump will be. So if you live in an older home, you may also want to consider upgrading your insulation to help you get the most out of your new heat pump.

If you’re going to perform insulation upgrades, it’s good to have this done before getting your heat load analysis so you can accurately determine the size of the heat pump you need. Proper insulation may even enable you to install a smaller, less expensive system.

You’ll be pleased to know that along with heat pump rebates, we also offer insulation rebates.

If you’re looking to install a central heat pump and have a home with existing ducting, your contractor will be able to determine if it’ll work with a heat pump, or if changes are required.

4. Getting a qualified contractor

You’ll want to look for a reliable contractor with plenty of heat pump experience. Review our list of program registered contractors to find somebody in your area. Not sure what to ask them? Take a look at our list of questions.

If you’d like to hear from someone who’s been living with a heat pump for a while, read about the VanDerZee family. And if you need any more convincing, check out our heat pump mythbusters.