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Heat pump house good idea?

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[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 7, 2010
2578 posts
328 upvotes
Mississauga

Heat pump house good idea?

Is a house heating and cooling source use heat pump a good idea?

I know baseboard used lots of electricity and that thing will get hot to touch

But what about heat pump?

Any down side compare to furnace? Is it more easy to break down?
16 replies
Sr. Member
Oct 19, 2020
808 posts
496 upvotes
GTA
killer007 wrote: Is a house heating and cooling source use heat pump a good idea?

I know baseboard used lots of electricity and that thing will get hot to touch

But what about heat pump?

Any down side compare to furnace? Is it more easy to break down?
If you don't have air ducts, adding a good mini-split heatpump system designed to work well in this climate is an excellent idea, can cut heating costs by 30 to 50%.

If you have air ducts, it is cheaper to burn gas over running a heatpump.
With ontario's electricity prices, a heatpump only makes sense compared to straight electric, oil and propane.

There are different types - the basic central ones lose capacity fast as it gets colder outside and require electric backup or a fossil fuel furnace to take over.

They heat very differently compared to conventional heat sources - luke-warm air over a long period of time vs blasts of heat.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 7, 2010
2578 posts
328 upvotes
Mississauga
But as a primary heating source in Canada's winter, how will heat pump workout?

We don't see many ppl use them isn't it? I see many houses with baseboard instead
Deal Fanatic
Nov 21, 2013
6077 posts
4368 upvotes
killer007 wrote: But as a primary heating source in Canada's winter, how will heat pump workout?

We don't see many ppl use them isn't it? I see many houses with baseboard instead
I use a heat pump, but it can't be a main source of heat in the canadian climate. My backup is electric baseboard. My heatpump been installed in 2012. It's a ductless minisplit,, and it is not one of the newer model that can heat your house with low outside temperature. But even with the newer models you'll need a backup heating source. It just can't be your only heat source during a cold harsh winter
Jr. Member
May 9, 2014
165 posts
72 upvotes
Toronto, ON
In Quebec where electricity cost is low, many homes have a heat pump as the main source and some other heating source as backup during the cold snaps. In-laws have heat pump and a oil fired furnace.

I think in Ontario heat pump isn’t as cost effective as a gas furnace due to high electricity costs.
Sr. Member
Oct 19, 2020
808 posts
496 upvotes
GTA
killer007 wrote: But as a primary heating source in Canada's winter, how will heat pump workout?

We don't see many ppl use them isn't it? I see many houses with baseboard instead
A heatpump can absolutely be used as a primary source of heat with no backup in much of canada, but not where it drops to -40c.

It has to be a unit specifically engineered to maintain full capacity down to -20c or lower and must be sized for heating. The house/building must be decently insulated.

Mini-splits are the best for this, there are few central machines that can do it.
Not all mini-splits either, only those specifically for cold climates.

The efficiency does drop as it gets colder, but at 150% (or getting 1.5kwh of heat for every 1kwh consumed) is still a major improvement.

Still wise to have baseboards or another source of heat for breakdowns as cold climate units are loaded with electronics that are not necessarily stocked on technician's trucks.

Baseboards are put in because they're cheap to install.
Deal Fanatic
Nov 21, 2013
6077 posts
4368 upvotes
insertname2020 wrote: A heatpump can absolutely be used as a primary source of heat with no backup in much of canada, but not where it drops to -40c.

It has to be a unit specifically engineered to maintain full capacity down to -20c or lower and must be sized for heating. The house/building must be decently insulated.

Mini-splits are the best for this, there are few central machines that can do it.
Not all mini-splits either, only those specifically for cold climates.

The efficiency does drop as it gets colder, but at 150% (or getting 1.5kwh of heat for every 1kwh consumed) is still a major improvement.

Still wise to have baseboards or another source of heat for breakdowns as cold climate units are loaded with electronics that are not necessarily stocked on technician's trucks.

Baseboards are put in because they're cheap to install.
I run mine as low as -25 even though the specs says -15. BUT at a certain point it become less and less efficient. To heat a whole house with a ductless minisplit you must have more than one evaporator (the inside unit). Only one would never be able to heath a whole house, as it blows only in one room of the house... My indoor unit is located in the living room, and it heats the kitchen as well. But I do need the electric baseboards to heat the basement, and the sleeping rooms are barely heated, which suits our needs as we like to sleep in colder rooms.
Sr. Member
Oct 19, 2020
808 posts
496 upvotes
GTA
Yes - would need multiple heads or multiple units.
The same technology is available in ducted style - Mitsubishi and daikin, possibly others. Just not as common as it is in mini-splits.

Technically all air source heatpumps become less energy efficient as it gets colder outside.
Capacity is different; the "cold climate" ones maintain full capacity down to -20c or below before they start dropping off.

Performance varies, so the data has to be reviewed carefully when selecting the unit(s).

On the other side of the spectrum, basic central air style units only have full heating capacity at 47F/7c and steadily drop as it gets colder. They're unable to adapt and are best suited for milder climates and duel fuel applications. (furnace + hp)
They can be used in winter climate with supplemental electric heat strips carrying much of the load -> still better than straight electric.
Sr. Member
Mar 11, 2002
874 posts
298 upvotes
I have a heat pump in conjunction with a 2 stage gas furnace, in the documentation it says you an get electrical strips to thaw the heat pump if you are in an extreme cold climate. For me in the BC south coast a heat pump alone would suffice, but my home is fairly drafty and when I replaced the entire hvac in 2014 I was hedging against potential gas price increases.

In terms of efficiency gas vs stage 1 hydro was a wash for me in my calculations but vs stage 2 hydro gas was cheaper. I have my ecobee to fire up the furnace in the winter, and use the heat pump more so in the spring/fall (it’s much quieter)
Deal Fanatic
Jul 7, 2017
6802 posts
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SW corner of the cou…
killer007 wrote: But as a primary heating source in Canada's winter, how will heat pump workout?
Very popular in Québéc.
We don't see many ppl use them isn't it? I see many houses with baseboard instead
As with everything else, cost, or at least initial up front cost Never mid the savings potential.
I smile when I see container ships sailing past my house laden with stuff made in China
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 7, 2010
2578 posts
328 upvotes
Mississauga
DoorCrasher wrote: I use a heat pump, but it can't be a main source of heat in the canadian climate. My backup is electric baseboard. My heatpump been installed in 2012. It's a ductless minisplit,, and it is not one of the newer model that can heat your house with low outside temperature. But even with the newer models you'll need a backup heating source. It just can't be your only heat source during a cold harsh winter
Just wondering how much is the electricity for a month with both baseboard plus heatpump together?
Sr. Member
Jun 10, 2003
740 posts
149 upvotes
Halifax
My main floor of my house (1200 sq ft) is heated with 2 Fujitsu extra low temp heat pumps, a 9k and 12k BTU. I kept the temp at 21c all winter long and used ~2,300 kWh between the two from Oct to May. Electricity averages to about .16c/kWh out here so about $450 to use them all winter, mind you last winter was warmer than normal. Heat pumps operate slowly so if your house is poorly insulated/leaks a lot of air they may not be able to keep up with your houses heat losses when it gets cold out even if the manufacturer claims it works at a lower temp. I was able to close my natural gas account this year, the heat pumps are cheaper than gas for 10 months out of the year at least.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 7, 2010
2578 posts
328 upvotes
Mississauga
Ahhhh I see thanks
that is actually pretty good for the price
Deal Fanatic
Nov 21, 2013
6077 posts
4368 upvotes
killer007 wrote: Just wondering how much is the electricity for a month with both baseboard plus heatpump together?
too much factors to take into consideration... how your house is insulated, hom many people lives there, how many rooms to heat, surface to heat, etc...
Member
Jun 19, 2005
216 posts
8 upvotes
instanoodles wrote: My main floor of my house (1200 sq ft) is heated with 2 Fujitsu extra low temp heat pumps, a 9k and 12k BTU. I kept the temp at 21c all winter long and used ~2,300 kWh between the two from Oct to May. Electricity averages to about .16c/kWh out here so about $450 to use them all winter, mind you last winter was warmer than normal. Heat pumps operate slowly so if your house is poorly insulated/leaks a lot of air they may not be able to keep up with your houses heat losses when it gets cold out even if the manufacturer claims it works at a lower temp. I was able to close my natural gas account this year, the heat pumps are cheaper than gas for 10 months out of the year at least.
Would you mind sharing details like model numbers, install kits used and mounting options you selected and from where did you buy them? I'm planing to install it in the basement and living area. thanks
Sr. Member
Jun 10, 2003
740 posts
149 upvotes
Halifax
studycertification wrote: Would you mind sharing details like model numbers, install kits used and mounting options you selected and from where did you buy them? I'm planing to install it in the basement and living area. thanks
I didn't install them myself unfortunately, the industry is the worst for making sure you have to pay huge markups through an authorized installer. I had my 2 Fujitsu's installed by a local company, cost $9.2k for the both of them. Right now my basement is heated with a resistive thermal storage heater and I want to replace it with a heat pump but at $4.6k it doesnt make financial sense. I am looking at a Senville to DIY install myself if I can find a local HVAC guy to evacuate the system for me, its not complicated but if I want any sort of warranty I cant do it myself. That or I take the risk and install it myself, can buy almost 3 Senville units for the cost of one Fujitsu.
Deal Fanatic
Jul 7, 2017
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I've seen someone advertising Carrier units in the past starting from $1,500 in SW Canada. Some of these units come prefilled with coolant for DIY install.
I smile when I see container ships sailing past my house laden with stuff made in China

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