Clearing the air around heat pumps

Heat pumps are an incredibly efficient way to heat a home; they work by moving heat from one place to another, as opposed to generating their own heat. In the winter heat pumps extract heat energy from outside air (even when it is cold out) and transfer it indoors. As a result, they use much less electricity than baseboard heating or electric furnaces — up to three times less. They are also cheaper to operate than propane/oil furnaces.

Heat pumps can also work to cool your home in the summer by simply transferring heat from inside to outside — the same way your refrigerator or freezer works to stay cold. They use much less electricity than conventional air conditioners.

Heat pumps can also help to keep wildfire smoke out of your home, as you can cool your house while keeping your windows closed.

According to BC Hydro heat pumps can cost anywhere between $6,000 and $12,000, plus the cost of installation. Under the Community Wood Smoke Reduction program, if you use a wood stove to heat your home, you are eligible for a $1,000 rebate off a new heat pump. Heat pumps also qualify for rebates under the Canada Greener Homes Grant, up to $5,000. If you currently heat your home with natural gas, oil or propane you could qualify for up to $6000 in combined rebates from BC Hydro and the provincial government. 

A lot of people in our region might be skeptical about heat pumps due to the fact that they can stop working efficiently in colder temperatures. The efficiency of a heat pump depends largely on what kind it is – whether it’s an air-source heat pump or cold-climate air-source heat pump. That being said heat pumps that can work up to -30°C have been on the market for over a decade, and all heat pumps are installed with electric backup heat.

Some people might also be hesitant to rely on electricity to heat their home due to power outages. Under the Golden Community Wood Smoke Reduction program, you are permitted to keep your wood stove if you pledge to use it only as a backup heating source. A backup heating system might also be required to get home insurance.

Heat pumps perform best in homes that are well insulated. You might want to consider retrofitting your home to make it more energy-efficient before purchasing a heat pump, depending how old it is. Home retrofits also qualify for rebates under the Canada Greener Homes Grant. However it may not be completely necessary to retrofit your home before buying a heat pump; if your home was built after 1980 then chances are a heat pump is a good option for you/your family.

For more information about the Community Wood Smoke Reduction Program in Golden you can contact