Types of heat pumps

There are three main types of heat pump systems. Use the information below to determine the system that’s best suited for your climate and home.
Air-source heat pumps

Air-source heat pump
  • Most commonly used heat pumps.
  • Moves heat rather than converting it from a fuel like combustion heating systems do.
  • Can reduce heating costs by about 50 percent when compared to baseboard heaters or electric furnaces.
  • Newer, more efficient systems now represent a legitimate space heating alternative in colder regions like the Northeast and Midwest. Note: If temperatures in your area drop below 10 to 25 F, you will need an auxiliary heating system (depending on the size of the system).

Geothermal heat pumps

  • More expensive to install but provide more energy savings for heating and cooling.
  • Move heat through pipes buried underground.
  • When compared to a conventional heating system, can reduce energy use by 25 to 50 percent.
  • Effective in extreme climates.
  • Not ideal for smaller lots and certain soil conditions.


Ductless mini-split heat pumps

Ductless mini-split heat pumps
  • Easier to install, quiet, small in size.
  • Flexible for heating and cooling individual rooms and smaller spaces.
  • No energy loss through ductwork, which accounts for more than 30 percent of a home’s energy use for space heating/cooling.
  • Installation can be pricey, but federal incentives may be available.

Heat pumps should be installed by a licensed professional. Contact your local electric cooperative for more information.
Sources: Dept. of Energy and Consumer Reports.

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