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Buyers Guide on Air-Source Heat Pumps in Ontario

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If you’re considering switching to an air-source heat pump to cool and heat your Barrie or Simcoe County home, there are some important considerations to keep in mind. 

Among them are the air-source heat pump system’s size in relation to your home’s needs, as well as the pump’s annual cooling efficiency (also known as SEER, for seasonal energy efficiency ratio), and the heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF).

What are air-source heat pumps?

An air-source heat pump is a very efficient type of air source heat equipment because it transfers heat that already exists, rather than using fuel to create heat. In the summer, an air-source heat pump moves, or “pumps” heat from the air indoors to the outdoors, leaving your home cooler. In the winter, a cold climate air source heat pump transfers heat from the air outdoors to the inside. (Even when it’s cold outside, heat remains present in the air.)

Heat pumps help reduce carbon emissions

Benefits of air-source heat pumps

This dual-purpose functionality makes them incredibly versatile, especially in regions like Ontario, where homeowners experience both cold winters and hot summers.

  1. Energy Efficiency: Air-source heat pumps are highly energy-efficient, as they don’t generate heat but instead move it from one place to another. This significantly reduces energy consumption, leading to lower utility bills and reduce carbon footprint.
  2. Year-Round Comfort: Whether it’s the biting cold of winter or the sweltering heat of summer, air-source heat pumps ensure your home remains comfortable throughout the year. They provide consistent heating during winter and effective cooling during summer, all in one unit.
  3. Environmentally Friendly: By utilizing renewable heat from the air, air-source heat pumps are environmentally friendly, producing lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional heating systems. For environmentally conscious homeowners, this is a significant advantage.
  4. Cost-Effective: In the long run, air-source heat pumps prove cost-effective. While the initial investment might be higher than some traditional systems, the energy savings over time make them a financially wise choice.
  5. Quiet Operation: Modern air-source heat pumps operate quietly, ensuring minimal disruption to your daily life. Their quiet performance makes them ideal for both urban and suburban settings.
Cold climate heat pump in Barrie, Ontario

Consider size

Homeowners often fail to realize that heat pumps sized to meet all their heating needs can be too large when it comes to cooling their homes in warmer months. This means that the heat pump works less efficiently and effectively in cooling mode. An oversized heat pump can also be less effective at removing humidity in summer.

That being said, you could make an economic case for installing a heat pump that is slightly oversized, as Canadians use eight to ten times the energy to heat their homes than to cool them.

That’s why many homeowners choose heat pumps sized to provide 80 percent to 90 percent of their heating.  

Select higher HSPF ratings for superior efficiency

The minimum efficiency levels of heat pumps are regulated in Canada. In a climate like Ottawa’s, for example, the minimum HSPF must range from 5.9 and 8.8.

However, you should choose a unit with as high a HSPF as you can. The higher the value, the more energy-efficient the equipment. Another way to boost efficiency: choosing a heat pump with a demand defrost control. This control will let your heat pump operate with fewer defrost cycles.

Hire a professional heat pump installer

Proper installation is paramount to an efficient and effective heat pump system. A professional heat pump installation in Ontario should include a meticulous assessment of your home’s specific needs.

On top of the size of your home and the heat pump’s efficiency levels, factors such as existing insulation and local climate patterns should be considered during installation. Additionally, the placement of the outdoor unit, which is crucial for optimal heat exchange, should be carefully considered. 

Heat pump installer in Barrie offers 100% satisfaction guarantee.


Trusted and expert HVAC contractors follow industry best practices to guarantee seamless operation and energy efficiency of your heating and cooling equipment, including heat pumps and air conditioning systems.

Since 1988, Custom Comfort ClimateCare has provided Barrie and Simcoe County homeowners with the equipment and expertise they need to stay comfortable year-round. Contact us anytime at (705) 722-5909.

A Few Commonly Asked Questions

What is a heat pump, and how does it operate or function?

Heat pumps are an energy-efficient alternative to traditional heating and cooling systems. They work by using electricity to transfer heat from a cool space to a warm space, which can make a cool space cooler and a warm space warmer. During the heating season, heat pumps move heat from the outdoor air into the house to warm it up, and during the cooling season, they move heat from inside the house to the outdoors to cool it down. This process of transferring heat instead of generating it allows heat pumps to provide comfortable temperatures for homes efficiently.

Three main types of heat pumps are connected by ducts: air-to-air, water source, and geothermal. These types of heat pumps collect heat from the air, water, or ground outside the home and concentrate it for use inside. 

At what temperature is a heat pump not effective?

Heat pumps can operate down to temperatures between -25°C and -30°C, depending on the equipment. However, the colder it is outside, the more difficult it is for the heat pump to warm your home. As temperatures drop, the amount of heat that a heat pump can emit decreases as well.

Should I get a heat pump in Canada?

Definitely! Heat pumps operate efficiently in Canadian climates, even in temperatures as low as -25°C. Heat pumps work by transferring heat from the outside air into your home during the winter and from inside your home to the outside during the summer. 

How do heat pumps and air conditioners differ?

Actually, they look like regular ACs on the outside. But, there are some differences inside. The main outer difference is that a heat pump needs to be raised on a stand to be above snow level.

What’s the difference between ductless and ducted heat pumps?

The difference between an air-source heat pump used with a furnace and a ductless split unit is that one is ducted while the other is not. Other than that, there isn’t much difference between the two.

How does a heat pump get heat from the air when it is cold out?

Heat pumps work similarly to other cooling equipment like air conditioners and refrigerators. They use refrigerant to absorb heat from cold air outside and release it into your home. The refrigerant moves in and out of the heat pump, evaporating into a gas outside to absorb heat and condensing into a liquid inside to release heat. This process is how heat pumps transfer heat into your home. It’s pretty cool!

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