FAQs

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FAQs

What are the benefits of a heat pump?
Heat pumps are one of the best home heating options for Nova Scotians because due to our moderate climate, they’re highly efficient to run. What’s even better is that most of the energy they use comes from renewable sources, so they are an environmentally friendly way to heat and cool your home. They provide many other benefits too. They help you save money on your home heating bills, clean the air in your home, and dehumidify your home in hot summer months.
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How much does a heat pump cost?
The average cost of an installed ductless heat pump with one indoor heating/cooling zone is between $3,500 and $5,000. Additional heating zones and greater heating capacities will increase the cost of the system. Other factors that will affect the cost of an installed system include: the brand, model, warranty, and installation requirements. We recommend you get at least three quotes from a qualified contractor.

What kind of warranty can I expect with a heat pump system?
It is best to check with the contractor for the brand of heat pump you are considering – but most will offer warranties from five to twelve years depending on the model. All participating contractors on this website offer a minimum five-year labour warranty with their installation.

What incentives are available for heat pumps?
Some of our participating contractors offer rebates on the heat pumps they install.  See current offers here: Contractor Rebates.

Also, Efficiency One, the independent, non-profit organization that oversees energy efficiency programs in Nova Scotia, offers incentives for ENERGY STAR® rated heat pumps in electrically-heated homes. For more information visit www.efficiencyns.ca or call 1-877-999-6035.

How do I know what size of system my house needs?
Ductless heat pump systems are sized to meet the heating and cooling needs of individual zones in the home. There is a great deal of flexibility when it comes to system sizing as one indoor unit can provide between ¾ and 2 ½ tons of heating/cooling depending on its BTU capacity rating. Some common capacities for indoor units are 9K, 12K, 18K, 24K, and 30K BTU. Outdoor units are sized to meet the combined load of all heating/cooling zones. More than one outdoor unit may be necessary for multi-zone systems.

Ducted heat pumps have an integrated backup heat source, and are designed to meet the needs of heating your whole home.  The ducts are sized to ensure efficient heat distribution throughout. Your installer will measure the BTU capacity of your home and help you choose accordingly.

Do I still need a backup heat source?
A ducted heat pump system would be installed along with an integrated backup heat source – either electric, oil, propane or natural gas. A ductless system could rely on any previously existing heat source as the backup.

The heat pumps are the primary heat sources, the backups would only supplement them in colder temperatures. When you choose an ENERGY STAR® rated heat pump, some ductless units can still produce heat when the outdoor temperature is as low as -27° C.

When the outside temperature dips below the balance point, then your other fuel system kicks in. The balance point is the temperature at which the amount of heating provided by the heat pump equals the amount of heat lost from your house. At this point, the heat pump capacity matches the full heating needs of your home.  Below this temperature, your supplementary or backup heat would be required.

How do you control a heat pump?
A heat pump can be controlled by wall mounted controls, remote controls, or some models can be controlled through Wi-Fi enabled applications. You can set them on timers and adjust them manually.

Do I need to turn my heat pump off?
The answer is no – simply “set it and forget it.” Ductless heat pumps are designed to adjust to changing conditions automatically and efficiently. Once you find a comfortable temperature setting on either “heat” or “cool” modes, avoid changing the temperature or turning the unit on and off.  We do not recommend using “auto” mode.
What is the proper temperature setting for my heat pump?

Depending on the location of your ductless heat pump, you may need to set the unit’s temperature slightly higher or lower than the desired temperature in the room to find a setting that’s comfortable. Think of the temperature on your remote as a comfort setting rather than the exact temperature that you want your room. Remember, the actual temperature setting on your remote is the temperature at the indoor unit, not the air temperature in the room.

In the winter, setting the thermostat(s) of the back-up heating system at a 5°C difference below the ductless heat pump thermostat setting will achieve maximum savings.  Also, never set your thermostat any lower than 10°C to keep your pipes from freezing.

Where is the best location for my heat pump?
Every house is different, so the best way to find out where to locate your heat pump is to have a qualified contractor visit your home.

For outdoor units, the primary consideration is clean airflow through the unit. This means under deck options are not ideal. You should try to place outdoor units on the ground and away from bedrooms, so the small amount of noise they do make is not transferred to the house.

For the placement of a ductless unit in a room, you’ll need to consider how the air flows through the room in order to evenly distribute the heat.

Which system is better for me - a ducted or ductless system?
This depends on a few factors, including house size and layout. Ductless systems tend to be a bit more efficient due to the integration of variable speed compressor technology, which is not commonly found in centrally ducted systems.  Also, ductless heat pumps are not impacted by air leakage that can occur along the ducts.

Do heat pumps take up a lot of room?
No, heat pumps are designed to be unobtrusive in their size and style, with low noise levels.

What kind of maintenance does a ductless heat pump require?
Ductless heat pumps require some basic maintenance to ensure optimum performance. In most cases keeping the filters and coils clean is all that’s needed, and can be performed easily by the homeowner. Keeping the outdoor unit clear of snow and ice is also important to ensure the heat pump is working as efficiently as possible. Snow should be cleared from the front, sides and back of the outdoor unit.  It is also very important to clear snow underneath the unit so it does not cause ice buildup when it goes through it’s normal defrost cycle. Click here for more information on heat pump maintenance.