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Do Heat Pumps Work in Ontario Winters?

Carrier heat pump

Heat pumps warm your home by extracting heat from outside air and transferring it indoors. These electric appliances are known for their energy efficiency and ability to provide both heating and cooling. But if heat pumps extract heat from outside, do they actually work in Ontario winters? The answer is yes. And here’s why.

Capabilities Of Heat Pumps

Heat pump technology has been around for decades. It’s the same technology that cools your fridge. However, recent advancements have made heat pumps much more efficient in cold climates, especially in areas like southern Ontario that experience moderate winters. In fact, special “cold climate” units can squeeze heat from air as cold as -30 C and use it to warm your home.

Heat Pumps in Southern Ontario

Southern Ontario experiences milder winters compared to more northern regions of the province. While temperatures can drop significantly during the winter months, Orangeville’s daily mean temperature between December and February usually does not drop below -7.5 C. In this climate, heat pumps can work effectively as the primary heating source.

When Heat Pumps May Not Be Enough

Although heat pumps can handle most of Southern Ontario's winter conditions effectively, they may not be sufficient under certain conditions.

  • Extreme cold. During periods of extreme cold, when temperatures drop significantly below freezing for extended periods, heat pumps may struggle to maintain indoor comfort levels efficiently. In such cases, heat from another source, such as a furnace, may be required to meet the heating demand.

  • Inadequate insulation. Homes with poor insulation may not retain heat effectively, which can put additional strain on a heat pump. Adequate insulation is essential for maximizing the unit’s efficiency.

  • Large heating demand. Homes with exceptionally high heating demands, such as those with large living spaces or poorly insulated areas, may require a backup heating source to ensure sufficient warmth.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Heat Pump in Winter

Follow these tips to maximize your heat pump’s efficiency during the winter:

  • Regularly clean and maintain the filters

  • Set the thermostat to a consistent temperature day and night

  • Seal any drafts and insulate your home

  • Ensure proper sizing for your home's needs

  • Keep the outdoor unit free from debris

  • Schedule professional maintenance annually

Heat Pump Installation in Orangeville and Alliston

At Don’s Heating & Cooling, we provide heat pump installation services to customers in Orangeville, Alliston, Erin, Caledon and surrounding areas. You may be eligible for thousands of dollars of rebates under the Home Energy Rebate Plus (HER+) program. Contact us today to request an appointment and enjoy the savings, comfort and efficiency of a heat pump.


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