Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

Want to know more about heat pumps for your business? Here are answers to a few common questions.

Q. What is a heat pump?

Heat pumps are highly efficient heating and cooling systems; some heat pumps are called ductless units (does not require ductwork) and others are called ducted units (need duct work). Heat pump systems consist of an outdoor compressor unit and indoor units, linked by refrigerant lines. Using a refrigerant vapor compression cycle, like a common household refrigerator, heat pumps collect heat from outside and deliver it inside on the heating cycle, and vice versa on the cooling cycle. Heat pumps use variable speed compressors to continuously match the heating/cooling load, avoiding the on/off cycling. This eliminates uncomfortable temperature variations and high-energy consumption.

Q. Do heat pumps really heat well in our climate?

Yes, there are heat pumps that are rated to work well in cold climates. Newer refrigerants can carry more heat from colder air and newer heat pump inverter technology more efficiently matches the work done by the heat pump to the heating or cooling needs of the customer.

Q. Why consider a heat pump for heating?

Heat pumps can deliver 2.5 to 3 times more energy in the form of heat than they use in electricity to produce the heat. At current prices, heat pumps can provide the same amount of heat as other fuel systems at a fraction of the cost.

Q: How is the heat pump controlled?

Heat pumps can be operated using either a programmable remote control or by programmable wall-mounted controls. Most heat pumps also offer various modes of operation such as quiet, high, economy, or timer.

Q: What are appropriate applications for heat pumps?

Supplemental heating – Heat pumps are ideal to supplement your primary heating system and generally pay for themselves in less than five years. Heat pumps are most often installed in the most frequently used space as a supplemental heat source.

Building additions – A heat pump can also be used when a building  is being added to or if the space is being renovated. Rather than extending the buildings existing mechanical system a heat pump system can provide efficient heating and cooling to the new space.

New construction – New building designs can be adapted to take advantage of heat pump technology and the many benefits.

Q: Are heat pumps efficient?

Yes, heat pumps can help to reduce heating costs. It is important to remember that while your overall heating fuel cost will be lower, your electricity bill will increase.

Two key factors account for the high efficiency of a heat pump:

  • During the heating season, heat pumps move heat from the cool outdoors into your warm building space and during the cooling season, heat pumps move heat from your space into the warm outdoors. Because they move heat rather than generate heat, heat pumps can provide up to three times the amount of energy they consume.
  • Heat pumps use inverter-driven, variable-speed compressors that allow the system to maintain constant indoor temperatures by running continuously at higher or lower speeds. Thus, the system can ramp-up or down without great losses in operating efficiency, avoiding the energy-intensive on/off cycling common in electric resistance, baseboard hot water, and forced air systems.

Q: How long will a heat pump last?

With proper maintenance and care, a heat pump should perform for 15-20 years. Many of the systems installed during the 1980s are still functioning well today.

Q: What kind of maintenance does a heat pump require?

A heat pump should be professionally maintained according to manufacturers’ recommendations. Maintenance would include (not limited to) changing filters, verify adequate airflow, Verify correct refrigerant charge, visual inspection and service indoor and outdoor units. Professional heat pump maintenance costs about the same as having a
hot water boiler or warm air furnace serviced and maintained.

Q: How do I know what size system I need for my business?

To be sure you get a system that best suits your business needs, consult with one of our
registered installers before purchasing a system.

Q: What is a Registered Installer?

A registered installer is a contractor who has registered with Nova Scotia Power to offer financing and install heat pumps. In order to register, the contractor must agree to follow
Nova Scotia Power’s Code of Conduct, has shown proof of insurance, in good standing with Workers Compensation Board, has trained technicians on staff, sub-contractors with licensed trades people and meet Nova Scotia Power’s safety standards. Nova Scotia Power’s registered installers have varying degrees of experience installing this equipment based on the project scope, building size and complexity of the project.