Is a heat pump heating & cooling system right for you?
Heat pumps can handle most of the heating needs of homes in Vermont. Their heating capabilities do decrease as temperatures approach –15 degrees F. In most buildings, a heat pump doesn’t entirely replace the current heating system. We recommend that you have a supplemental heat source (e.g., furnace or boiler, stove or fireplace, or central wood heat) as a backup for the coldest days of the year. During periods of lower temperatures, use your backup source to make up the difference. When installing a new ductless heat pump, consider adding integrated controls, which eliminate the need to adjust the backup system’s thermostat entirely.
Homes with open floor plans, where there are no walls or barriers are good for heat pumps. Small homes and businesses with open floor plans can typically heat with one or two heat pump units.
For larger spaces and those with enclosed rooms, multiple units are needed—one for each room or zone. Locating the heat pump in the most open part of the home and keeping doors open will improve performance.
Consider your insulation and air sealing before installing a heat pump system. Improving the thermal efficiency of the building will minimize the size of heat pump you’ll need and to reduce overall energy use of the unit. Eliminating drafts and increasing insulation are affordable improvements that quickly pay for themselves.
The answer to this depends on the fuel you are currently using to heat your home. If you have baseboard electric heat or a typically more expensive heating fuel, like propane or oil, the savings can be significant. The fluctuation of fuel costs can offset the efficiency gains of a heat pump system. If you’re switching from natural gas, wood, or pellets, a heat pump may not lower your heating bills.