Your guide to Air-to-Air Heat Pumps
Traditionally air-to-air heat pumps have been used in areas with warmer climates, such as the West Coast, because their heating capacity drops off substantially when outside temperatures drop below zero degrees.
However, this is no longer the case. Advanced technological development has allowed some state-of-the-art air source heat pumps to provide more than enough heat to keep a modern well-insulated home comfortable at temperatures well below zero degrees Celsius, before the backup heat kicks in. As a result, heat pumps are now being used as far north as the Northwest Territories.
CLICK HERE TO FIND A QUALIFIED CONTRACTOR
Developed in Asia and often referred to as “ductless mini-split” heat pumps, these new heat pumps use “inverter” compressor technology to pump 49 C (120 F) air, and at much lower outdoor temperatures than the conventional heat pump which pumps air at 36 C (98 F). Inverter technology is able to vary the output of the heat pump to match the needs of the home. This technology operates by using programmable “smart” controls which run almost continuously to maintain the home at a constant temperature; unlike conventional heat pumps which provide full output to bring a home up to the required temperature which when reached, shuts down until the temperature drops enough to trigger the thermostat or electronic control to turn on again.
Unlike a conventional heat pump which distributes heated or cooled air through ducts, the ductless units distribute heated and cooled air through wall mounted free-air delivery units. There can be multiple units in a home.
Types of Air-to-Air heat pumps
Like an air conditioner, a heat pump consists of an indoor and an outdoor unit. Air source heat pumps can be either “add-on,” “all-electric” or “bi-valent.” Typically, they are powered by electricity, although there are a few natural gas fired heat pumps on the market.
- Add-On Heat Pumps, as the name suggests, are designed to be used with another source of supplementary heat such as a gas, oil, propane or electric furnace.
- Whereas an All-Electric Heat Pump is self-contained, with electric heating built-in. Developed in Canada, bi-valent heat pumps use a gas or propane fired burner to increase the temperature of the air entering the outdoor coil, allowing the unit to operate at colder temperatures.
Another relatively rare type of heat pump is the Air-to-Water Heat pump. These are used in homes that use hot water (hydronic) heating. They extract heat from the air and transfer it into the water used for heating the home through radiators or in-floor heating.
Learn more and locate a qualified contractor to service your air conditioners and heating systems by going to the Heating, Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) Contractor Locator page, or calling 1-877-467-HRAI (4724). All HRAI member contractors have been pre-screened and have the required trade licences, technical certifications and insurance coverage to service on your system.
You might also like these articles on:
WHICH AIR CONDITIONER SHOULD I CHOOSE FOR MY HOME?
RADON IS DEADLY. KEEP IT OUT OF YOUR HOMES
THE AIR YOU BREATHE: OPTIMIZING INDOOR AIR QUALITY
Back to Consumer Tips