Do you love the idea of heat pump technology, but live in a climate that's a little too cold? Air-source heat pumps are clean and efficient, but many older models don't work as well when outside temperatures drop below 40 degrees. Fortunately, that is changing. New advances in technology mean that the devices are growing in utility and popularity even for people who live in the coldest regions of the northern United States and Canada.

Brrr, It's Cold Outside

Heat pumps work by taking advantage of the difference in temperature between indoor and outdoor air to either warm or cool the house. They use refrigerant to transfer heat and either blow it into or out of the home.

Today, air-source heat pumps are available that function in temperatures as low as 20 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. The technological upgrades that make them more effective than their predecessors include advances in refrigerant composition and volume, improved compressor speeds, variable-speed motors and better insulation of the internal ducts and tubes.

Heat pumps require electricity to run, but they are far more efficient than electric resistance heaters, and are generally cheaper than using oil as well. That makes them an ideal solution for homes that aren't hooked up to a natural gas line. A Vermont resident profiled by the Boston Globe estimated that he will save $1,200 per year in utility costs by switching from oil to a heat pump. The Globe reports that sales have been increasing across New England, reflecting the enhanced ability of the technology to deal with frigid temperatures.

“More and more homeowners are going away from oil and converting to this ductless technology,” industry insider Joseph Fernandez told the Globe, estimating that sales have risen 30 percent in the last two years.

More Upgrades to Come

Heat pumps can already be integrated into smart-home systems and controlled remotely using your phone. A report in ACHR News predicts that the next big advance will be having the heat pump track your phone automatically and turn itself on when it senses that you are, say, 20 minutes away from home.

Heat pumps of the future will also shift toward using more sustainable refrigerant products to comply with potential regulation regarding global warming, ACHR reports. For many consumers, that means heat pumps may be the answer to both reduce their energy bills and do their part in fighting against climate change.

When you start shopping, make sure you look for the Energy Star label on your heat pump to ensure you are getting a model at the very cutting edge of efficiency. If you are interested in heat pump technology and considering installing one in your house, contact the experts at local One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® today for professional advice about whether the devices are right for you.