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Heat Pumps

Heat Pumps

What’s a heat pump?

Heat pumps use a single system to heat, cool, and dehumidify your home. In the winter, a heat pump transfers heat from outside of your home to the inside. In the summer, they work in reverse, transferring heat from inside your home and pushing it outside—turning it into an air conditioner and dehumidifier. Put simply, they use compression, copper coils, and liquid refrigerant to “move” heat in one of two directions.

Heat pumps are much more efficient than traditional heating methods - twice as efficient as traditional oil systems -  and they provide the added benefit of air conditioning.

how to Find a contractor

Use our contractor search tool below, to locate a trusted contractor in your area.  They meet our strict participation criteria and can help you select the best solution for your heating and cooling needs.

Our contractors work closely with us  to ensure compliance and quality installs for your home.

Heat Pump FAQS

Which system is better for my home – a ducted or ductless system?

This depends on a few factors, including the size and layout of your home. Ductless systems tend to be slightly more efficient than ducted systems due to the integration of variable speed compressor technology.  Also, ductless heat pumps are not impacted by air leakage that can occur along ductwork. 

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 this 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 its normal defrost cycle.  Click here for more information on heat pump maintenance. 

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 I know what size of system is right for my home?

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 different levels of heating and cooling depending on its BTU capacity rating. Some common capacities for indoor units are 9K, 12K, 15K, 18K, 24K, and 30K BTU. 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. 

What incentives are available for heat pumps?

Trusted contractors in our network offer rebates and promotions on their heat pumps. See all current offers here: Contractor Rebates.

In addition, EfficiencyOne, 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 or call 1-877-999-6035. 

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 our network of trusted contractors.



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