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Air-source heat pumps

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An ENERGY STAR® certified air-source heat pump uses 5% less energy, on average, than a standard model. Air-source heat pumps that have earned the ENERGY STAR Most Efficient designation are the best of the best – they’ll save you even more energy. Saving energy saves money and reduces your carbon footprint.

Start your research using the searchable product lists for ENERGY STAR air-source heat pumps to find and compare product models.

How does an air-source heat pump work?

During the cooler months, a heat pump uses electricity to extract heat from the outside air and transfer it into your home. The heat pump’s advanced technology enables it, even during Canada’s cold winter days, to extract heat from the outside air to heat your home. Although heat pumps are best known for heating, they also provide cooling by transferring warm indoor air to the outside. In fact, if you have an air conditioner at home, you are already familiar with heat pump technology – they work in the same way.

Heat pumps transfer heat rather than generate heat, making them energy-efficient while they provide comfortable temperatures for your home year-round.

Learn more in our booklet, Heating and Cooling with a Heat Pump.

Helpful tips

Air-source heat pumps
  • When buying a heat pump, there are two ratings that will help you determine the unit’s efficiency: the Heating Seasonal Performance Factors (HSPF2 Region V) is used to determine the efficiency during winter, and the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER2) is used for summer. In both cases the higher the number, the better the efficiency.
  • Finding the right heat pump size for your home is critical in order to maximize savings on your energy bills, and keep your house as comfortable as possible in both the winter and summer. Ask your mechanical contractor for more information on the sizing and selection process. Set your thermostat at one temperature. Constant adjusting can cause higher utility costs, especially in the colder season.
  • During the winter months check for signs of excessive ice or snow build-up on or around the heat pump. If the unit is covered in ice or snow, it must be removed in order to work properly.
  • The best time to service your unit is at the end of the summer, prior to the start of the next heating season.
  • Keep your filters and coils clean. This will have a dramatic impact on the performance of your system and operating life. You usually need to do this every month, but follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the most accurate info.
  • Hire a qualified service contractor to do an annual inspection of your unit.

Regulations set the energy efficiency minimum

Air-source, ground-source and water-source heat pumps are subject to Canada's Energy Efficiency Regulations, which set a minimum performance standard for their energy efficiency. Find details in the Guide to the Regulations.


All ENERGY STAR certified products are tested to meet strict efficiency specifications and are certified by an independent third party. They perform the same as or better than standard products without compromising performance in any way.


Why should you choose ENERGY STAR?

Reduce your at-home energy consumption

Save money

Keep your home comfortable

Reduce your carbon footprint


Additional resources

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The ENERGY STAR name and symbol are trademarks registered in Canada by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and are administered and promoted by Natural Resources Canada.

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