Heat Pump 101

A ductless, or "mini-split" heat pump - shown here is the interior wall-mounted mechanism

Heat pumps are the most efficient way to heat and cool your home or business. With affordable options for new and existing buildings, almost anyone can enjoy the benefits of owning a heat pump.


During cold months, a heat pump absorbs heat from the air outside your home or business and circulates it inside. In warmer weather, it works in reverse, transferring heat and humidity inside your home or business to the outdoors.


Central air source heat pumps are fully ducted throughout the building and are best suited for new construction or existing forced-air systems. Ductless heat pumps are installed on a wall, making them ideal for buildings with non-ducted heating systems like electric or hot water baseboard.

A ductless, or "mini-split" heat pump - shown here is the exterior mechanism (the compressor unit)


Most oil-fired furnaces and boilers are 65 to 85 per cent efficient, depending on the age and maintenance history of the unit. In other words, for every $1 of oil you buy, you get between $0.65 and $0.85 worth of heat; the rest is lost during the burning of the oil. Electric heat from baseboards, boilers or furnaces is considered 100% efficient, meaning there is no loss of energy through a combustion process; however the cost of using electric baseboards can be high. By comparison, heat pumps are 200 to 300 per cent efficient. They supply the same amount of heat as traditional systems using much less energy, and they have the added benefit of cooling and dehumidifying in summer.


When you are shopping for a heat pump, look for a qualified HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) contractor. They will be able to ensure the unit you purchase is properly sized, properly installed and reliable. Sizing is the most important factor when choosing a heat pump.


Improving energy efficiency is a valuable investment, but it is important to identify which upgrades will be the best fit for your home or business. Efficiency Nova Scotia offers technical expertise, advice, rebates and financing options to help make the process easy and cost-effective. To find out more about how to maximize your energy savings, contact us at 1-877-999-6035 or visit efficiencyns.ca.

Efficency Nova Scotia

Efficency Nova Scotia

Efficiency Nova ScotiaSaving energy – and energy savings – for Nova Scotians. We can’t control the price of energy, but we can all take steps to use less of it. That’s what Efficiency Nova Scotia is all about.