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Why use a heat pump?

Home heating systems that rely on fossil fuels, in particular oil furnaces, are significant contributors to climate change. Making the switch to more energy-efficient heating equipment such as a heat pump can save energy, reduce your utility bills, and shrink your carbon footprint.

Heat pumps are a proven technology that have been used for decades, in Canada and globally that provide efficient, economical heating and cooling to your home for year-round comfort. Heat pumps run on electricity and transfer heat from a cool space (like the outdoor air) to a warm space (inside your home). Since a heat pump transfers heat, as opposed to converting fuels to heat (such as oil or natural gas), it works at a higher efficiency.

Heat pumps can provide both heating and cooling in your home by controlling where the heat is transferred (inside or outside).

You probably already have some heat pump technology in your home! Refrigerators operate using the same principles and technology, keeping your food cool by moving any heat from inside your fridge to the outside.

Air source heat pumps

Air source heat pumps are the most common heat pumps on the Canadian market. They use the air as the source for the heat that they transfer. Air-source heat pumps work by drawing heat from the outside air during cold months to keep your home warm and by expelling heat to the outside during warm months to keep your home cool. These systems are up to 2.5 times more efficient than an oil furnace or boiler, and are a proven and reliable way to significantly reduce your energy use, shrink your carbon footprint, and can also lower energy bills.

Cold climate air source heat pumps

A new generation of air source heat pumps (called cold climate air source heat pumps) are now available in Canada. Cold climate air source heat pumps are specially adapted to our cold Canadian climate and can effectively heat your home even when outdoor temperatures are as cold as -30°C. Like conventional air-source heat pumps, these systems also provide efficient heating at milder conditions, and cooling to your home during warmer months. Cold climate systems can help your home achieve even greater energy savings by reaching efficiencies up to 3 times higher than oil furnaces or boilers.

Ground source heat pumps

A ground-source heat pump uses the earth, ground water, or both as the source of heat during cold months, and as a reservoir to expel heat from the home during warm months. These heat pumps are less common than air-source units but are becoming more widely used across Canada. Since the ground temperature is generally warmer and more constant versus air temperatures during cold months, these systems can operate more efficiently compared to air-source systems, achieving efficiencies up to 3.5 times higher than an oil furnace or boiler.

Heat pumps are a smart choice for the environment and your bottom line

Switching from an oil heating system to an air source, cold climate air source, or ground heat pump can save you money. This can also dramatically reduce your greenhouse gas emissions and your carbon footprint.

Heat pumps vary in size and configuration. If you’re ready to make the switch to a heat pump, it’s important to start a discussion with a local mechanical contractor. They are equipped to help determine what the heating and cooling requirements of your home are. They can explain the economics of purchasing and operating a heat pump in your area and are able to provide an estimate of the potential savings you can achieve. Your mechanical contractor can help select the best system for you, to save you money and reduce your carbon footprint.

Back to the Oil to Heat Pump Affordability program

More resources on heat pumps

Image of an Air-Source Heat Pump

A heated conversation on heat pumps

What are heat pumps? How do they work? Why is everyone talking about them? Are they right for you? Listen to find out.

Learn more about heating and cooling with a heat pump

Resources for applicants

Need a loan for your retrofit?

The Canada Greener Homes Loan is an interest-free loan of up to $40,000 with a repayment term of 10 years, open to homeowners who have an active application (at the pre-retrofit stage) with the Canada Greener Homes Grant.

Learn more about how to apply for the Canada Greener Homes Loan

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