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  • Writer's pictureYousef Khoury

Home Heating and Cooling Revolutionized: Heat Pumps

What are heat pumps and how do they work?



Written by: Yousef Khoury

Edited by: Justin Weir


What are heat pumps? Heat pumps are a “highly efficient technology that extracts heat from one place and transfers it to another” and serves to either heat or cool buildings (Canada Energy Regulator, 2022). They are more efficient than traditional furnaces and baseboard heaters as they use heat transfer as opposed to heat generation, which results in less required energy input (Heat Pump Systems, 2022). Heat pumps are also significantly more efficient than gas furnaces and provide the additional benefit of cooling during the summer (Heerema, 2017). The heat pump systems of today could reduce electricity use for heating by approximately 50% and result in energy cost savings of up to 60% compared to traditional, electric baseboard heating (Canada Energy Regulator, 2022).


As previously mentioned, heat pumps work with the transfer of heat across a temperature gradient. In other words, heat is transferred from a source to a sink, allowing the temperature of an indoor space to be controlled. The most common type of heat pump in Canada is the air source heat pump, which uses indoor and outdoor air as both its sink and source (Canada Energy Regulator, 2022).


During warmer days where indoor cooling is required, the pump uses the indoor air as the heat source and transfers it outdoors (Heat Pump Systems, 2022). A cooling cycle commences, where a liquid refrigerant within the heat pump passes through a series of devices. The compressor, condenser, expansion valve, and evaporator all serve to alter the physical state of the refrigerant, which interacts with the surrounding air to cool it. During colder days where indoor heating is required, the pump is capable of reversing the cooling cycle into a heating cycle, providing year-round temperature control (Various Components/ Parts of the Heat Pumps, 2008).


Besides its situational dexterity, there are technological limitations that pose obstacles to Canadian users. Recently developed cold-climate heat pumps can only work in temperatures as low as -20°C, and usage becomes rather inefficient during the harsh Canadian winters (Government of Canada, 2022). Once external temperatures drop below the pump’s threshold, supplemental heating sources should be considered such as “All Electric” or “Hybrid System” options (Government of Canada, 2022).


Overall, the total number of heat pumps installed in Canada has almost doubled, from 400,000 in the year 2000 to just over 700,000 in 2015 (Canada Energy Regulator, 2022). Increasing consumer demand, as well as continuous technological development, is rendering heat pumps a viable alternative to traditional methods, as well as pushing Canada towards a more energy-efficient future.


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Works Cited


Canada Energy Regulator. (2022, July 8). Market Snapshot: Steady growth for heat pump technology. Retrieved from Canada Energy Regulator: https://www.cer-rec.gc.ca/en/data-analysis/energy-markets/market-snapshots/2018/market-snapshot-steady-growth-heat-pump-technology.html#:~:text=More%20than%20700%20000%20residential,electric%20heating%2C%20reduces%20energy%20use.


Canada Energy Regulator. (2022, July 8). Market Snapshot: Steady growth for heat pump technology. Retrieved from Canada Energy Regulator: https://www.cer-rec.gc.ca/en/data-analysis/energy-markets/market-snapshots/2018/market-snapshot-steady-growth-heat-pump-technology.html#:~:text=More%20than%20700%20000%20residential,electric%20heating%2C%20reduces%20energy%20use.


Government of Canada. (2022, August 9). Heating and Cooling With a Heat Pump. Retrieved from Government of Canada: https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy-efficiency/energy-star-canada/about/energy-star-announcements/publications/heating-and-cooling-heat-pump/6817#e


Heat Pump Systems. (2022). Retrieved from Energy Saver: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/heat-pump-systems

Heerema, D. (2017, May 18). Gas vs. electricity? Comparing home heating costs in B.C. Retrieved from PEMBINA: https://www.pembina.org/blog/gas-vs-electricity#:~:text=In%20fact%2C%20while%20a%20gas,to%20affordable%20heating%20with%20electricity.


Various Components/ Parts of the Heat Pumps. (2008, November 22). Retrieved from Bright Hub Engineering: https://www.brighthubengineering.com/hvac/16074-various-components-of-the-heat-pump-part-one/


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2 Comments


Matthew Critchley
Matthew Critchley
3 days ago

Thanks to HVAC Contractor Stuart company, my heat pump is running more efficiently than ever before. The technician who serviced it was thorough and took the time to explain everything to me. I feel confident that my system is in good hands.

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Zak Crawley
Zak Crawley
Mar 12

Switching to a heat pump system with the help of HVAC Repair Diamond Bar company was one of the best decisions for our home. The installation was smooth, and their team was courteous and efficient. We've seen a noticeable improvement in air quality and comfort.

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