Heat Pumps: What, Why & How


Published November 23, 2023

Last edited January 04, 2024


There is currently a surge in federal financial assistance aimed at guiding homeowners in shifting from costly heating methods to heat pumps. While these devices are gaining popularity, a significant portion of the population remains unfamiliar with their benefits.

Read on to find out what they are, why there is a push towards these systems and how the costs compare.

What are heat pumps?

Heat pumps are devices designed to transfer heat to desired or undesired locations. During winter, they extract heat from the external environment and transfer it into the house, even when the air feels cold. Conversely, in summer, they draw heat from inside the house and expel it outdoors. These machines utilize coolant to facilitate the energy transfer, operating in a manner reminiscent of a refrigerator. The extraction of heat can occur from the air, which is the most prevalent method, or alternatively, from the ground or groundwater.

Why switch to a heat pump?

In achieving climate targets, heat pumps play a crucial role as residential and building heating contributes roughly 10% to Canada’s carbon emissions. These devices typically exhibit significantly higher energy efficiency compared to systems reliant on fossil fuels. Additionally, as they operate on electricity, they can seamlessly integrate into a net-zero energy system.

All this to say…your heating bill will be lower too!Cost comparison

Cost comparison

Transitioning to heat pumps can result in significant savings for households. The extent of these savings is contingent upon the local climate and variables such as current electricity and heating expenses in your area. An assessment by the Canadian Climate Institute in October revealed that, for most Canadian households, heat pumps present the most economical option. While there are considerable initial expenses—typically ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 for units and installation—the long-term savings are a reliable outcome. In Ontario, the Institute estimates that an average household spends approximately $2,250 annually on natural gas heating and air conditioning. In contrast, with a heat pump operating on standard electricity, the yearly cost is projected to be around $1,910.

Do they really work in our cold climate?

Heat pumps are becoming a viable choice even in cold climates, thanks to specialized machines designed to operate in temperatures as frigid as -30 degrees Celsius. It’s worth noting, however, that these cold-climate heat pumps come with a higher price tag compared to standard options, making cost a crucial consideration. Standard heat pump models generally function well in temperatures as low as -10 degrees Celsius. Due to the cold weather limitations of heat pumps, it is often necessary to have backup heating options in place.

Do you have a heat pump? Or would you consider one? Let us know in the comments below!

What are your Thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.


Optimized by Optimole