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Choosing the right heat pump

So you want to get a heat pump but are unsure which type to go for? Generally, ground-sourced heat pumps are only for when building new, so we're here to help you decide which type of air-source heat pump is right for you.

Watch Dave and Jaclyn explain how to choose the right heat pump for your home.

Which heat pump is right for you?

Now that you know a little bit more about choosing a heat pump, we’ve designed these 4 questions to help you understand how a heat pump can work in your home.

1. What are the main benefits of a heat pump?

They're energy efficient: When installed and operated correctly, heat pumps are a lot more efficient than using electric baseboards to heat your home.

They provide consistent warmth: One of the top benefits of a heat pump is the consistent heat, making your home more comfortable. The cool spots that you often get with electric baseboards are gone.

They also provide air conditioning: A heat pump can also run in reverse and cool your home in the same way air conditioning works.

They’re powered by water: If you currently rely on fossil fuels for your home heating, switching to a heat pump will lower your greenhouse gas emissions and reduce your carbon footprint thanks to BC Hydro’s clean hydroelectric power.

We’ve got rebates: If you currently rely on fossil fuels to heat your home, you could get up to $11,000 in combined rebates from BC Hydro, CleanBC and the federal government to help you make the switch to an electric heat pump.

2. What types of heat pumps are available?

Air-source heat pumps fall into three categories:

Mini-split heat pump: Mini-split heat pumps (also known as ductless heat pumps) don’t require ducting. They feature an outdoor unit that gathers heat from the air and transfers it via refrigerant lines to one or more heads mounted inside, offering multi-zone heating or cooling. Mini split systems are easy to install but can become less efficient with each head that you add.

Central heat pump: Central heat pumps also have an outdoor compressor, but their heat is transferred to an indoor furnace or air handler, which uses a ducting system to carry the air around the house. If you’re replacing an existing electrical, natural gas or oil furnace, your ducting may need some modifications so that your heat pump can run efficiently.

Ducted mini-split heat pump: Ducted mini-split heat pumps work in the same way as mini split heat pumps, except that they feature a hidden head (usually in the attic) with ducting running to vents in two or more rooms.

Heat pumps also come with a choice of compressors - single speed, two speed and variable speed. Variable speed compressors are much more efficient than the other two, which is why they’re the only type we offer rebates on.

3. Where do you live in B.C.?

If you live in an area outside the Lower Mainland or Vancouver Island, you should consider a cold climate rated heat pump, designed to operate in temperatures as low as -25°C.

4. What's your budget?

Like efficiency, the cost of buying and installing a heat pump can vary greatly, depending on the size of your home and the variable speed system you choose.

On average, you can expect to pay around $6,000 for a single head heat pump, $10,000 for a multi-head unit and $14,000 for a variable speed central system. Cold climate heat pumps typically cost between $15,000-$20,000. And you’ll be pleased to know there are rebates available for qualified products.

Like any product, not all heat pumps are created equal. Apart from being less efficient, many cheaper models are also very noisy, so look for a low decibel (dB) rating and invest in a reputable brand that you can rely on for the next 10-15 years.

And of course, when you factor in your energy savings over that period, your new heat pump should comfortably pay for itself if you’ve previously been heating your home with electric baseboards. Plus, if you ever sell your home, a heat pump is a desirable feature.

What are the next steps?

If you’re interested in finding out more about getting a heat pump, we’ve got 4 things you might want to consider next.