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Heat Pumps

Heat pumps can make your home run cleaner and more efficiently.  Getting off fossil fuel heating and getting an electric heater and air conditioner in one unit provides a healthier living condition, and reduces costs and your carbon footprint.

Here is some information to get you started.

Nanaimo Climate Action shares 7 Heat Pump Myths

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Nanaimo Climate Action is working wiith government leaders to reduce the costs of installation of Heat Pumps.   Learn More

Some useful information about residential heat pumps

Domestic electric heat pumps provide a low-carbon, cost-effective alternative to conventional fossil fuel based home heating and cooling systems.  Available from various suppliers for installation in new homes or home renovations, heat pumps are a good investment and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  

There are various considerations regarding the selection of a specific type of heat pump and its installation.  Make sure to obtain quotes from several local vendors and familiarize yourself with financial incentives provided by governments and energy suppliers.  A visit to your home is required to ensure an appropriate selection of the unit.  In addition to the square footage of your home, the size and placement of windows, its age, insulation, ceiling height and exposure to sunlight are important factors to consider. 

We suggest watching these videos available on the FTFO You Tube channel: , and to read through the following notes before making a selection.


Most residential heat pumps installed in BC are air-sourced electric heat pumps.  Air sourced means that the heat pump extracts heat energy from ambient air and feeds it into the house.  Other forms could be geothermal or water-sourced heat pumps.

Residential heat pump systems include an outdoor compressor unit (the heat pump) and one or several indoor air handler units.  Heat pumps can be connected to heating ducts like those used for a conventional central heating/cooling system, or to one or several heads which are installed in various locations throughout the house.  The latter type is called a ductless or split system.


The advantage of a ductless or split system is that rather than using ducts to deliver warm air at a uniform rate into all parts of the house, the outdoor unit is connected through small, insulated pipes to heads that are installed in various locations around the house.  This is advantageous if the heat pump replaces electric baseboard or hot water radiators in an older home and ducts do not exist.  Each head can be controlled individually by the owner so that different temperature settings can be achieved for different rooms.

Air-sourced electric heat pumps are up to three times more efficient than electric heaters such as baseboard heaters.  As outside temperatures drop to the freezing mark or below, their efficiency will drop as well.  It is important to check with the supplier/installer how efficient their proposed system will be at various temperatures.  This varies from model to model.

If there is no other source of heat in the building (such as a wood stove or additional heaters), the heat pump will likely require a backup heater to ensure that the house can be kept warm at low temperatures.  This backup heater is usually installed inside the air handler unit and could be gas fired or electric.  The use of an all-electric system will help minimize the carbon foot print of your home.

Electric heat pumps can also be operated as an air conditioning unit.  A properly sized heat pump will be more than adequate to cool the house while achieving a lower operating cost than a conventional central air conditioning unit.

Things to check

It is important to check if the electric service needs to be upgraded.  Typically a 200A service is required for a small or mid-sized home though up to 400A may be required for an all-electric installation to heat and cool a large home.

Just like central air conditioning systems, heat pumps produce a certain level of noise.  Noise is measured in decibel (dbm).  The heat pump should operate well below 70 dbm and be placed where its operation does not bother home occupants or neighbours.

Getting Started

Have an Energy Audit to determine what your house needs to upgrade before making any retrofits.  Online free with Properate for RDOS and Penticton. Find an in person advisor.


There are various BC grants available to help cover the cost of converting a home from fossil fuel to electric heating and cooling by installing a heat pump.  See for more details.

The CleanBC Better Homes has an Income Qualified Program for people to get even greater rebates if income is below $42,593 (up to 95%) or $55,903 (up to 60%).

The federal government has a rebate system as well that you apply for before beginning house retrofits.  Greener Homes

Getting Help

Energy Coaches are available by telephone and spend lots of time explaining the rebate process.   1-844-881-9790

The government program CleanBC provides the opportunity to attend online seminars and ask specific questions.  Registration is at the bottom of the CleanBC Community Energy Coach main page

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