What is a Heat Pump?

A heat pump is a type of mechanical equipment that uses the process of refrigeration to remove heat from one place and transfer it to another. In winter, it serves as a heating system, while in summer it serves as an air conditioner. Heat pumps have been in use around the world for decades, and are becoming increasingly popular in North America.

Our moderate coastal climate is ideally suited for heat pumps, but with new inverter models that perform well in cold climates, they have now been established throughout Canada as an alternative to carbon-based heating, with the added advantage of cooling in summer.

How Does a Heat Pump Work?

How does a heat pump work? Evaporation - Compression - Condensation - Heat out - Expansion - Heat in

A heat pump system uses the refrigeration cycle to move heat from one place to another. Due to the unique properties of refrigerants, they are very effective at absorbing heat energy when changing from liquid to vapour, and releasing heat energy when changing from vapour to liquid. This change of state is achieved by increasing the refrigerant pressure with a compressor, and decreasing the pressure with a metering device.

In an air source heat pump system, heat is absorbed from the air as the refrigerant passes through the evaporator coil, and is released as the refrigerant passes through the condenser coil. Other types of heat pump systems can absorb heat from water (water source) or from the ground (geothermal). This heat is then released from the indoor coil and circulated with a blower fan. A hydronic heat pump system uses water to distribute heat rather than air, through in floor piping or radiators.

A reversing valve allows the heat pump to change the direction of the refrigerant cycle, so the system can either transfer heat from outside to inside (heating) or from inside to outside (cooling).

Central Ducted Systems

A central heat pump system is ideal for a fully ducted house. Highly efficient central systems with variable speed inverter technology are now available.
These systems provide whole home comfort, with one indoor air handler ducted to all rooms of the house.

Mini-Split Ductless or Ducted Systems

Mini-split heat pump systems use inverter technology to deliver superior performance in a space-saving format. They are small and quiet with extremely efficient operation.
There are several options for indoor units: high wall head, floor console, ceiling cassette, and concealed slim duct air handler. This type of heat pump can also be installed with a centrally ducted air handler.


A multi-zone or multi-split system can heat up to five areas from a single outdoor unit.
It is an efficient, quiet and flexible alternative for homes without ducting.
The multiple indoor units allow for temperature control zoning in different areas of the house.