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What Are Cold Climate Heat Pumps?

Many homeowners in Montana wonder if a heat pump will be enough to heat their homes on the coldest winter days. A popular option for homeowners who want a heat pump but who don’t have a backup heating source like a fireplace has been a dual-fuel system. This consists of a heat pump along with a backup heating source such as a furnace. 

However, cold climate heat pumps are being designed to work in climates such as ours where temperatures are in the single digits for many days of the year. Cold climate heat pumps (CCHPs) go by several names including high efficiency heat pumps and cold weather heat pumps. Let’s learn more about these systems below so you can decide if heat pump installation is right for you. 

What Is a Cold Climate Heat Pump?

Cold climate heat pumps are a new breed of heat pump that’s specifically designed to work efficiently in temperatures below 40°F. The keyword here is “efficiently.” 

It’s been estimated that standard air-source heat pumps begin to lose efficiency in temperatures lower than 40°F. It’s important to note that a standard heat pump will still be able to heat a home when it’s below 40°F, but that it’ll work less efficiently. The system will require more electric power to extract heat from colder air. 

The Department of Energy (DOE) recently launched a Residential Cold Climate Heat Pump Technology Challenge to advance cold climate heat pump technology in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This initiative has come about in an effort to reduce the use of fossil fuels and to increase the number of HVAC systems in US homes that use electricity solely. In order to make heat pumps more appealing to homeowners who live in cold climates, ideally, heat pumps need to work more efficiently in these climates. 

How Do Cold Climate Heat Pumps Work?

Cold climate heat pump technology is being developed as we speak, but in a nutshell, they’re high-tech systems that are being engineered primarily to operate at the highest heating capacity in the lowest temperatures. Their internal technology, computer programming, and advanced features are designed to function at subzero temperatures while heating a home as efficiently as it can.

A key feature in cold climate heat pumps is a variable speed compressor, powered by an inverter. This kind of compressor can be helpful for heat pumps in any climate, but it’s especially beneficial in regions with sub-zero temperatures like we experience here in Montana. The other advantage is that a variable-speed system holds a steadier temperature than a traditional single-speed HVAC system. 

How Much Do Cold Climate Heat Pumps Cost?

Cold climate heat pumps will cost around 20-30% more than a standard heat pump. That’s because these systems are much more highly advanced and have technological features that allow them to work efficiently in freezing conditions. However, because they’re working more efficiently, that means you’ll save even more on utility costs.

Contact Ambient Air Solutions today for professional heat pump installation in Bozeman, MT. Simplifying Heating & Cooling!

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