What are Heat Pumps?

A heat pump is a piece of electrically powered equipment that can both heat and cool your home. Heat pumps work by moving heat to and from your home. Moving heat is more energy efficient than generating it through combustion. Even in cold weather, heat pumps can provide comfortable, efficient heating.

A heat pump is essentially an air conditioner that can run in reverse.

In summer, the heat pump cools your home by moving heat from inside to outside. In winter, the heat pump heats your home by moving heat from outside to inside. Since it’s moving heat, rather than generating it, heat pumps are more efficient than furnaces or boilers.

A graphic depicting how heat pumps work. In warm months, heat energy is absorbed from the indoor air through a heat pump indoor unit. Then, refrigerant transports the heat energy to the outside heat pump unit, where it is released. The refrigerant then returns inside to capture more heat.
A graphic depicting how heat pumps work. In cold months, heat energy is absorbed from the outdoor air through a heat pump outdoor unit. Refrigerant then transports heat energy through refrigerant lines, where the heat energy is released inside via a heat pump indoor unit. Then the refrigerant returns outside to absorb more heat.

Heat pumps deliver consistent comfort.

Heat pumps work by steadily extracting or absorbing heat which provides a consistent indoor temperature while using less energy.

Heat pumps can provide whole-home or zoned heating or cooling.

A graphic depicting how air source heat pumps work.

Ducted heat pumps
Ducted heat pumps use the same ductwork as a furnace or central air conditioner to deliver whole home conditioning. If you have vents or grates that deliver warm or cool air, your home has ductwork. A ducted heat pump will serve the same areas your ductwork currently serves.

A graphic depicting mini-split heat pumps: A heat pump outdoor unit is attached via refrigerant lines to a heat pump indoor unit.

Mini-split heat pumps
Mini-split (ductless) heat pumps provide you zonal control by directly conditioning an area or room. No ductwork is needed. Mini-splits use indoor units for delivering conditioned air. A highwall indoor unit is the most iconic style with other options available. Mini-splits can be a helpful addition to any home to serve stubbornly hot or cold spots.

Interested in a heat pump?

Explore our tools and resources to see if a heat pump is right for you. Visit our Savings Calculator to learn more about the possible monthly and annual bill impacts of a heat pump.

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