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Living with a Heat Pump

If you are thinking of switching to a heat pump and wonder what to expect, here is what I see as the most common changes.


Firstly yes, your power bill will go up, probably a similar amount to the amount that your gas bill goes down. Cold climate heat pumps are very efficient, especially in mild temperatures, but the power to run them is not free. The increase in power usage will definitely put you into the higher rate of the billing structure.

Energy charges


Step 1: 1,132 kWh x $0.0975 /kWh

$110.37

Step 2: 1,500 kWh x $0.1408 /kWh

$211.20

Step 1 is for homes that have a very small electrical usage, no electrical water heater, no heating in bathroom floors, no heat pump.

Step 2 is definitely where you end up with a heat pump, but its probably still about the same as your gas bill, especially with all of the carbon tax.


Flexibility, a heat pump does allow you to decide when to you want to cross over to back up heat, usually with three simple methods. The first one is outdoor temperature, you can switch over to your back up heat based on outdoor heat to use more or less electrical power or gas heat. Some people want to let their heat pumps run less in the winter, and that is fine. Others want to run their heat pump till the capacity can't keep up with their homes heat loss. This year I ran my heat pump all but one week of the year. The -30C week was the only week I ran my back up gas heat. For me it is a moral issue of trying to use less fossil fuels, everyone is different, but you get that flexibility.


Air temperature, heat pumps move more air at a lower air temperature. So you may notice the equipment running longer at a lower temperature. This is normal, but it is a change from a furnace that moves less air at a higher temperature.


Noise, heat pumps do have some different noises, unit with a decibel rating between 50 - 60 are quite quiet, but they still make noises when they go into defrost. Their will be some water dripping, and steam coming off of them as they defrost, this is all very normal. But you will get used to some different noises.


Burning less gas and using clean hydro power to heat your home may, or may not, make you feel morally better. But either way you will definitely enjoy having air conditioning in the summer. It is a good idea to size your heat pump for winter heating instead of summer cooling, as this will be the greater load. If your compressor modulates or has a staged compressor there is no downside in in sizing for heating rather than cooling. Larger equipment gives you the advantage of being able to run your heat pump down to to a lower outdoor air temperature before you need back up heat.


There are very few downsides from running a heat pump to heat your home. But there are several differences. With good equipment that runs quietly and efficiently you will be happy with your choice.


Jonathan

Heli Cool HACR Ltd



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