Heat Pumps: The smart way to heat and cool your home

Heat pump technology is the smart, modern way to heat and cool your home. There are two distinct heat pump technologies: air-source and ground-source.

Air-Source Heat Pumps

Not only will an air-source heat pump save you up to $1,000 per year or more compared to buying a conventional gas furnace and standard AC, it will dramatically reduce your home’s climate impact and indoor air pollutants.

An Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) works on the same principle as an air conditioner or refrigerator. It pulls heat out of outside air – even at temperatures of -20C or even lower – and transfers it into your home (built in supplemental resistance heating keeps your home warm on extremely cold days). In summer, it reverses and pulls heat out of your home, keeping it cool. The same technology can also be used to heat your home’s hot water. This technology has actually been around for decades, but it is now much improved for use in cold weather climates and much more needed, given our escalating climate crisis. Millions of ASHP systems are in use around the world and they are very popular in cold countries like Norway and Finland. An ASHP system powered by a zero carbon electricity system can dramatically cut your home’s climate impact.

See our Heat Pump Primer for more on how the technology works.

The upfront costs of an ASHP system (space heating and cooling and water heating) are higher than the cost of a gas furnace, gas water heater and conventional AC combination, but the good news is that the federal Greener Homes program provides a $5000 grant toward the cost of ASHP systems and zero interest financing. Because your ASHP system will have much lower operating costs, you will likely end up paying less each month in loan and utility payments for an ASHP than you will pay for a new gas system. Some municipalities, including Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston and Durham, also offer grants and financing that can be combined with the federal supports. The reason heat pumps save you money is that they are many times more efficient than a gas furnace and water heater and require much less energy to provide the same services. By switching to an all-electric system, you will also be avoiding volatile fossil gas prices and a rising carbon tax.

Our report on the financial advantages of buying an ASHP system finds that the average Ontario home would save a minimum of $10,000 over 15 years (the minimum equipment lifespan) by opting for a ASHP instead of conventional heating and cooling equipment. For anyone living in a community where Enbridge is expanding its gas distribution system, the savings of opting for a heat pump instead of hooking into polluting gas are even higher – around $20,000 over 15 years (use our calculator to see how much you can save if you are considering signing up with Enbridge).

To help you understand the financial benefits of switch to an ASHP, we have created an easy-to-use online calculator where you can see the potential cost savings for your home.

View the recording of our great webinar on air-source heat pumps held Nov. 2022.

There was also a lively discussion in the Q & A box, with 125 questions answered live by our team of experts. We have summarized the questions and answers here.

To read testimonials from heat pump owners, go here.

Read our report on the financial benefits of choosing a heat pump instead of conventional HVAC equipment or take a look at our full economic analysis.

Ground-Source Heat Pumps

A ground-source heat pump (GSGP) system captures heat from the ground and can offer even deeper cost savings and more comfort.

See our new report on how ground-source heat pumps can save you $24,000 over the life of the equipment (or $37,000 if the alternative is signing up with Enbridge).

View the recording of our Feb. 1, 2023 webinar on the benefits of ground-source heat pumps.

Use the calculator to see your potential savings from an air-source heat pump