Are Heat Pumps Really as Efficient as They Claim To Be On Paper?

They can be if done right. Heat pumps are more sensitive to poor design, installation, and maintenance than furnaces. They require more airflow per Btu than furnaces. So pay careful attention to equipment and duct sizing when replacing an existing furnace. Heat pumps also need the proper refrigerant charge to operate at their design capacity and efficiency.

To ensure customers are comfortable and get what they think they pay for, simple like-for-like box swaps won’t get the job done. Carefully consider the sizing and condition of the existing duct system along with the home’s heating and cooling loads. Then determine if upgrades are necessary or if there is an opportunity to downsize and use the existing ducts.

Are Heat Pumps as Reliable as Furnaces?

Heat pumps have more moving parts and more complex controls than furnaces, so naturally, more can go wrong with them.

The result is they don’t last as long on average. Proper routine maintenance is necessary to keep heat pumps working efficiently for as long as possible. It’s essential to make sure your customers understand this and offer a service plan with every heat pump you install.

Can Heat Pumps Keep Customers Comfortable in Areas with Cold Winters?

Electrification isn't new. But it is being pushed more today than ever before.
Production and distribution of electric energy

Heat pump technology has come a long way in recent years. In the past, most heat pumps couldn’t heat a home when outside air temperatures dropped below freezing. This is when gas or electric strip heaters are required for backup.

Equipment design improvements have lowered the minimum operating temperature for most heat pumps. Some are designed especially for cold climates and can operate with high capacity and efficiency even in subzero temperatures.

Keep this in mind as you select equipment and look for units that provide the best match for the climate in your area.

It’s always best to eliminate the need for supplemental electric strip heat. Why? Because it is expensive to operate and requires more electrical panel capacity that may be in short supply in an electrification job.

A good resource to find equipment that performs well in cold weather is the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP) Cold Climate Air Source Heat Pump List (

What Happens to Customers In a Power Outage?

In cold climates, heating can be the difference between life and death for your customers. Losing heat can also lead to broken pipes and catastrophic damage to a home; it’s essential to consider how your customers will heat their home if they live in an area that regularly, or even occasionally, sees winter temperatures below freezing. How they heat their homes is especially important if the area is prone to power outages.

You can power furnaces with small portable generators. Dual fuel systems with a furnace that can be manually or automatically turned on in an emergency can make a lot of sense. A wood stove or a gas fireplace that doesn’t require any electricity to operate might be an even better solution.

Unfortunately, many utility programs that incentivize heat pumps require eliminating gas furnaces and fireplaces. Some programs may even require eliminating the gas service. If this is the case for any of your projects, consider recommending a whole-home generator to power the heat pump in an outage situation.

Be sure to work with the electrician installing the generator to ensure it is properly sized. This is not just for the heat pump operating wattage and the rest of the home. It is necessary for the higher current when the heat pump first starts up.

Click Below for the Next Page: