Heat pumps prove efficient, effective in cold climates

Courtesy: Great River Energy (GRE)

If you are looking for ways to cut your heating and cooling costs, consider installing an energy-efficient air-source heat pump (ASHP).

Heat pumps function as both an air conditioner and heater, and they use 72% less electricity than conventional air conditioners and furnaces by collecting and moving heat instead of generating it.

During the cooling season, heat pumps cool the air by pulling heat from inside the conditioned space and pumping it outside. Alternatively, during the heating season, heat pumps pull heat from outside air—even when it’s cold out—and pumps it inside.

Since heat pumps transfer heat rather than generate it, they are one of the most efficient means of cooling and heating your home.

While heat pumps are common in warmer climates, most people think these appliances will not work in places where temperatures drop below freezing—but that is no longer true.

When properly installed, many of today’s cold-climate air-source heat pumps (ccASHPs) can keep your home warm even during the coldest months of the year, and use far less energy than other types of heating systems.

The key feature in a ccASHP is a variable speed compressor, enabling a single heat pump to work efficiently and effectively. In addition, the variable-speed system holds a steadier temperature than a traditional single-speed heating or air-conditioning system.

There are both central-ducted systems and ductless systems of ccASHPs available. Central-ducted systems are designed and installed to meet the full heating and cooling needs of the home. Ductless systems deliver heat to a specific area of the home through a single interior head with no ductwork.

In cold-climate applications, ccASHPs typically require a backup system to provide heat when cold outdoor air temperatures limit the heat pump capacity. Ducted systems typically use a propane/natural gas furnace as a backup. These backups take over the load of the system at an outdoor air temperature where the capacity of the heat pump is no longer sufficient. Homes with ductless systems typically rely on electric-resistance boards for backup heating.

Visit energywisemn.com/air-heat-pumps to learn more and watch an animated video about heat pumps. Visit Steele-Waseca’s website, swce.coop, to find rebates currently available, and be sure to watch for special promotional offers beginning in April 2023.

 A tax credit of up to 30% of the cost for purchase (between Jan. 1, 2023 and Dec. 31, 2023) and installation of a heat pump, up to $2,000, is available.