Heat Pumps – Would It Heat Your Home?

When your access to utilities is limited, you may have no choice but to opt for electricity as your source of energy for the home heating and cooling system. Electricity is the most expensive energy source when it comes to heating your home, but if you must go with electricity, your best option may be to invest in a heat pump system rather than a traditional forced air furnace.


A heat pump is a single unit that heats and cools your home. As long as the temperature outside doesn't dip too far below freezing, the heat pump will work to keep your home very comfortable. When the temperature dips too far, you may need a source of supplemental heat to help it along.

Emergency Heat

Not every heat pump unit is equipped with an emergency heat feature. Now, this isn't what you may think – it isn't heat that works when the power is out. This unit is included in many heat pump systems that are installed in areas in which the temperatures are oftentimes lower than freezing. The emergency heat is a secondary system that produces heat when it's just too cold outside for the heat pump to keep you warm. In most cases, this unit produces heat using resistance heating elements, so it will cause your energy costs to rise when you use it.

Unlike the heat pump, the emergency heat unit is located inside your home. With the right set up, the emergency system will automatically kick on when the temperature inside your home reaches a low temperature and the heat pump doesn't warm it up enough. Some systems require you to manually turn the emergency heat on.

Supplemental Heat

For those instances in which the temperatures are dipping often, you'll want a supplemental source of heat. This can be a wood burning stove, electric heater, kerosene heater or propane – any small unit that will warm things up efficiently.

As you shop for a supplemental unit, make sure to use guide to find one that is the right size for heating the space where you need it. If the heater is too small, it will cost a small fortune to run – if it's too large, it will be more than you need.

Talk with your local residential heating technician to learn more about heat pumps and if this type of system would be the best source of heat to keep warm without breaking the bank this year.