You may have recently read about heat pumps and how they’re becoming a popular eco-friendly choice for both heating and cooling. Heat pumps are essentially a type of refrigerant-based air conditioning system that can reverse the direction it operates so that it can both move heat from an indoor space (cooling mode) and move heat into an indoor space (heating mode).
You may have also heard some skepticism about whether a heat pump can work in cold climates like the ones we have. Usually, HVAC companies recommend heat pump installations in places with mild winters. Is a heat pump in Parksville, BC a good idea?
The Nature of the Dilemma
Here’s the lowdown on why people are concerned about heat pump performance in extremely cold temperatures.
A heat pump operates by evaporating refrigerant in one location to draw heat from the air and then releasing that heat through condensation in another location. During heating mode, a heat pump draws its heat energy from the outdoors and pumps the heat indoors.
That leads to the question: “Where is it getting that heat?” If it’s cold outside, which it will be when the heat pump is in heating mode, how is it able to access heat to warm up the indoors?
First off, this is a problem—or at least, it is for some heat pumps. A standard heat pump used in a mild climate will struggle with an outdoor temperature that’s below freezing. (The actual temperature where the heat pump begins to struggle, called the economic balance point, depends on humidity as well.) The heat pump will start losing efficiency as it tries to draw the heat necessary.
However, the heat pumps that we install for our customers are specifically designed for colder climates. The heat pumps back in the 1980s couldn’t handle the intense cold temperatures we get during winter, but the technology of heat pumps has significantly improved since then. The main feature that allows a heat pump to operate in temperatures as low as -25°C is the advanced variable speed inverter-driven compressor technology. These heat pumps have been tested in numerous cold weather conditions in the US and Canada and even up in the Arctic Circle.
How Big a Heat Pump Do I Need?
If you think a heat pump is a good choice for your home, you’ll want to make sure that you get the right size to provide the heating and cooling you need. However, you don’t want to get an oversized heat pump based on the belief that it will somehow be able to overcome the cold weather better—that’s not how heat pump sizing works! If you get a heat pump that has too much cooling and heating capacity, it will waste energy and not deliver any better cooling or heating.
To find the heat pump that’s the exact size necessary for your home, talk to our professionals. You’ll need us to install the heat pump anyway, so let us get started with sizing the new system for you.
Temprite Climate Solutions offer heat pump installation and other services in Courtenay, BC and and the surrounding areas. For a job done right, call Temprite!