Air Source Heat Pump Backup
Your Heat Pump with Backup Heating for Cold Weather Heat pumps have become a popular choice for keeping your home comfortable. A heat pump system can meet both heating and cooling needs while keeping costs low. Heat pumps are an economical and comfortable option that provides year-round comfort.
Unlike a gas stove or boiler, which burns fuel to generate heat, a heat pump heats your home by using a refrigerant to transfer thermal energy from the outside to the inside. There is enough heat in the outside air for comfortable home heating until the temperature starts to drop below freezing for a prolonged period of time.
Once the temperature drops low enough, it becomes difficult for a heat pump to provide comfortable heating. This is why standard heat pumps come with auxiliary/emergency heating, usually in the form of resistive heating elements. Although an air source heat pump can achieve 300% heating efficiency, the backup power system cannot exceed 100%, so it is relatively expensive to use at current electricity costs.
Some heat pumps can be equipped with auxiliary systems to provide more heat when necessary. Resistive heating coils are activated if enough heat cannot be extracted from the outside of your home. This type of heat pump system will have a switch on the thermostat to enable the auxiliary heating function. Energy efficiency may suffer due to increased use of electrical systems.
If your heat pump does not have supplemental heating, traditional furnace types common in your area are usually a good choice for a backup system. Call your HVAC contractor to discuss your plans. A professional can provide details and advice on how a backup system will work with your heat pump.
If necessary, several heat pumps can add auxiliary systems later. This option is mainly found in regions with milder winters. Some colder climates require backup or auxiliary systems due to lower temperatures. Gas forced air furnaces will be an energy-efficient and cost-effective backup heat source for the area.
If you are installing a heat pump, ask your contractor if your current system can be used as a backup. Heat pumps provide a comfortable way of distributing heat. Used in conjunction with a suitable backup heat source, heat pumps can also be very energy efficient.
If you have any questions about alternate heating sources, please contact us.
Our goal is to help customers in cold regions understand energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).