Heat pumps offer an energy-efficient alternative to furnaces and air conditioners for all climates. Like a refrigerator, heat pumps use electricity to transfer heat from a cool space to a warm space, making the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer. During the heating season, heat pumps move heat from the cool outdoors into your warm house. During the cooling season, heat pumps move heat from your house into the outdoors. Because they transfer heat rather than generate heat, heat pumps can much more efficiently provide comfortable temperatures for your home. Luckily local utilities offer incentives for installing EnergyStar heat pumps with rebates! The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) also provides savings for those interested to purchase a heat pump system.
Photo Credit: Energy.gov
Types of Heat Pumps
Ducted Heat Pumps:
Ducted heat pumps are ideal for homes with ductwork currently in place, which often use an inefficient oil or electric-powered heat system. A ducted heat pump easily connects an outdoor unit to a central indoor unit which then disperses the heated or cooled air throughout your home using your air ducts.
Three main types of heat pumps are connected by ducts: air-to-air, water source, and geothermal. They collect heat from the air, water, or ground outside your home and concentrate it for use inside. The most common type is the air source heat pump, which is known to reduce your home's electricity usage for heating by 50% and also dehumidifies your home's air.
Heat pump options available for homes without ducts include mini-splits. One can choose between ceiling cassettes, wall-mounted, or floor mount systems. Furthermore, a particular type of air-source heat pump called a reverse cycle chiller generates hot and cold water rather than air, allowing it to be used with radiant floor heating systems in heating mode.
Geothermal Heat Pumps
Geothermal (ground-source or water-source) heat pumps achieve the highest efficiency of all systems by transferring heat between your house and the ground or a nearby water source. Geothermal has a higher initial cost to install but has much lower operating costs because they take advantage of relatively constant ground or water temperatures. Geothermal heat pumps have significant advantages. For example, geothermal can reduce energy use by 30%-60%, control humidity, are sturdy and reliable, and fit in a large spectrum of homes. The suitability will depend on the size of your lot, the subsoil, and the landscape. Ground-source and water-source heat pumps can be utilized in more extreme climates than air-source heat pumps without a backup dual fuel system. Customer satisfaction with the systems is very high and these systems have long lifespans.
Photo Credit: MN Dept of Health
Heat Pump Contractors
Northern GroundSource Inc.
1558 Stone Lk. Bridge Rd.
Brimson, MN. 55602-8032
Phone: (218) 848-2869
Fax: (218) 848-2503
AMAX Heating & Plumbing
615 E. Hwy. 61
Grand Marais, MN 55604
Paid for in part by funding from the UMN Northeast Regional Sustainable Development Partnership.