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Ground-source heat pumps

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Buy ENERGY STAR® to save you money!

An ENERGY STAR certified ground source or geothermal heat pump uses 45% less energy, on average, than a standard model. Ground source heat pumps are also known as an earth-energy system (EES). Saving energy saves money and reduces your carbon footprint.

Key features

  • Use the earth, ground water or both as the source of heat in the winter and to cool your home in the summer.
  • Can be used in more extreme climates than air-source heat pumps, so they are better able to meet the heating loads of Canadian winters. Still, another heat source may well be needed to meet peak needs.
Ground-source heat pumps

Start your research using the ENERGY STAR Product Finder tool to find and compare certified geothermal heat pumps. (NOTE: you will be redirected to the U.S. ENERGY STAR website.


Take control of your energy consumption and expenses through your thermostat. Both conventional and programmable thermostats are available for heat pumps.

Conventional thermostats for heat pumps

Most home heat pumps have an indoor thermostat that the installer sets to the desired temperature. From then on, the unit automatically turns the heat pump on or off to heat or cool the home. It also turns on supplementary heating if it is needed.

Heat pumps may also have outdoor thermostats. There are two types. The first selects the appropriate heating based on outdoor temperature. The second, for an air-source heat pump, shuts off the pump when the outdoor temperature falls below a specified level.

Programmable thermostats for heat pumps

Programmable heat-pump thermostats offer better temperature control than conventional thermostats. They let you set temperatures for specific time periods, helping to reduce energy waste and costs. They also eliminate the need for a second, outdoor thermostat

Helpful tips

  • When buying a heat pump, there are two ratings that will help you determine the unit’s efficiency: the Heating Seasonal Performance Factors (HSPF) is used to determine the efficiency during winter, and the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) is used for summer. In both cases the higher the number, the better the efficiency.
  • 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 do an annual inspection of your unit.
  • There are three types of ground-source heat pump: closed loop, open loop and direct expansion.
  • Learn more in our booklet, Heating and Cooling with a Heat Pump


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.

Regulations set the energy efficiency minimum

Ground-source,  air-source and water-source heat pumps (including internal water-loop 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.

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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