A heat pump mounted on outside a home with snow on the ground shows how a heat pump works to heat and cool your home.

Thanks to Canada's cold winters and hot summers, a significant amount of energy is used to heat and cool homes each year. Fortunately, new technology is making it easier to produce fewer emissions without forcing you to compromise your comfort.

If you're hoping to make your home more sustainable, a heat pump may be a smart alternative to your traditional heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.

What are heat pumps?

Heat pumps are efficient heating and cooling systems that can reduce your emissions and energy costs. Compared to HVAC systems that rely on electricity to cool and natural gas to heat your home, heat pumps use smaller amounts of electricity to transfer heat from cool spaces to warm spaces, effectively regulating the temperature in your home.

How do heat pumps work?

In the summer, a heat pump will draw warm air from your home and direct it to the outdoors to make your space cooler. When you want to heat your home in the winter, a heat pump will draw heat from an outside source into your home.

Depending on the type of heat pump you install in your home, a heat pump will deposit and pull energy from a nearby water, air, or ground source.

If you're trying to be more sustainable, look at how you heat and cool your home. A heat pump is a sustainable form of technology that can keep your home comfortable all year long — without relying on natural gas.

What are the different types of heat pumps?

There are many different types and sizes of heat pumps. Selecting the right one will depend on the layout and square footage of your house, your region's climate, and whether your house can accommodate a ducted system.

Air-source heat pumps use the air outside as a source of energy when heating your home and dump energy into the air when cooling your house. Air-to-air heat pumps are the most common in Canada and can either be ducted or ductless. Ducted air-source heat pumps have the indoor coil located in your home's ducts, while ductless heat pumps have the indoor coil located in a floor or wall unit. Air-to-water heat pumps are less common, but heat or cool water to change the temperature in your home.

Ground-source heat pumps (also called geothermal heat pumps) use the earth or groundwater as a source of energy when heating your home and dump energy back into the ground when cooling your house.

What are the benefits of heat pumps?

Heat pumps are reliable and are an efficient form of technology that can keep you comfortable all year long. Whether you're installing a heat pump in a new home or want to retrofit your older home with a more sustainable system, here are a few additional benefits of switching to a heat pump:

  • Because they're so efficient, having a heat pump in your home can help you save on your monthly heating and cooling utility bills
  • A heat pump reduces your reliance on natural gas, meaning you and your home can be more eco-friendly, and you'll save on the cost of natural gas and the carbon tax
  • Many heat pumps now qualify for the Canada Greener Homes Grant, so you'll be reimbursed for part of the cost of installation

Before installing a heat pump, reach out to your group's licensed insurance broker to find out how a heat pump could impact your home insurance coverage needs.

Alongside changing up your home's heating and cooling system, there are many other technological advancements that can reduce your carbon footprint. If you're hoping to cut down your emissions while on the road, consider the pros and cons of hybrid and electric vehicles.

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