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Calgary Heating: What is a Heat Pump System?

Hello, Kyle here today from ClearView Plumbing and Heating! If you’ve been here for a while, you will have noticed that we mention ‘heat pump’ furnaces, often alongside forced air furnaces in relation to things like repairs and adding extras like air conditioners.

Though it’s easy to picture a heat pump system as some sort of, well pump, this sort of heating system is more than that and could be the answer to both your desire to conserve energy and a way to bring both warm and cool air into your home, depending on your needs.

So what is a heat pump system?

Most heat pumps are ‘air source’ heat pumps and as the name suggests, they work by moving air around.

If you want warm air, then the heat pump pulls hot air out of the air outside and brings it in.

If you want cool air, then the heat pump pulls the hot air out of your home so that cooler (and often drier) air can move in to take its place.

Heat pumps are most often used as an air conditioner as a result, but they also double quite nicely as a heating system.

Another type of heat pump system which you will see in Canada is the geothermal heat pump system.

These heat pumps pull heat out of the earth instead of the air, pulling from the layer with consistent heat no matter how cold it is above ground.

This is an important consideration because air source heat pumps don’t work when it gets very cold outside. Geothermal ones will just keep going!

There are also recycle cycle chiller systems which provide hot and cold water and can be used with radiant floor heating, but for the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on air source and geothermal heat pumps since they’re by far the most common to use.

Heat pumps have a huge number of advantages in the right hands.

First, they are an all-in-one package which makes it a lot easier to work with them throughout the year.

You don’t have to set up an Air Conditioner or prep a furnace every year, just ensure that your heat pump is in good working order with regular checks and maintenance and you’re good to go.

Second, because heat pumps don’t actually generate any heat or cool air, you’re using far less energy than the standard furnace or AC, making them more environmentally friendly and a little cheaper on the wallet.

Some people have saved between 30-40% on their energy bills in the switch!

As with anything in life though, there is a trade-off.

Most heat pumps don’t do well in places with extreme temperatures because it’s harder to move heat around.

I think all of us who live in Calgary know that there’s pretty well no scrap of heat around in a -30 winter! There are heat pumps which can overcome this problem–or else we wouldn’t be talking about them!-such as geothermal heat pumps which can pull heat right out of the earth no matter how cold the air is.

However, these systems aren’t as common and will require a very different level of installation, maintenance and repairs.

Fortunately, geothermal pumps are a lot sturdier than air source pumps and usually require little in the way of repairs and care.

And for many people, particularly those in the Great White North, heat pumps alone won’t do the trick; they are best combined with an existing furnace or at least by doing a thorough weather-proofing of your home.

Heat pumps are a great way to keep your home more moderate in temperature without spiking your electricity bill.

They can work with existing systems to keep your home warm and can keep rooms cool in the summer without too much effort.

They are an environmentally sound alternative and though the initial installation is pricey, the machine pays for itself in energy savings in between five and ten years. With a lifespan of 25 years, it’s a pretty economical choice!

In Calgary, your best bet is to use a geothermal heat pump because there are too many times where there is no warmth in the air, but in the earth, it’s still warm.

So there you have it! If you would like to learn more about heat pumps or would like to have installed in your home, please contact Clearview Plumbing & Heating for assistance.

We’ll be glad to help you out!

Clearview Plumbing and Heating is a Calgary Plumbing and Heating company based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada which is available round the clock to carry out any type of Calgary Plumbing or Heating job, like installing or repairing a heat pump system!

You can reach us any time at (403) 216-8439.

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