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Heat pump trend, adding a high tech unit to your Ottawa furnace.

With the sweltering heat of Ottawa summer upon us, it can be hard to imagine that fall is right around the corner! Planning for heating season and furnace repairs tends to be the last thing on our minds. With the current rebate programs in place, there has never been a better time to replace your home’s heating system. Product availability, labour shortages and longer than expected wait times for rebates all mean that being proactive with your heating system is a must. This article explores the topic of adding a heat pump to your current furnace, the redundancy that come with one of these systems and how to optimize your furnace purchase in Ottawa by leveraging rebates.

Really nice Lennox SL25XP1 installation in Ottawa by heating and cooling contractor AirZone HVAC Services.

Can I add a heat pump to my current Ottawa furnace?

When looking to purchase a heat pump, there are a few considerations that must be weighed out in the buying process. Are you looking to eliminate natural gas and go fully electric? If eliminating fossil fuels is your goal, you will be forced to replace the furnace with an air handler. For homeowners that are looking to take a step in the right direction but are not looking to totally eliminate gas, adding a heat pump to the current furnace is a popular choice.

The type of heat pump, type of existing furnace and current infrastructure are all items that must be carefully considered when making your decision. If you have a relatively new, high end gas furnace, then it makes sense to simply add a heat pump to the existing system. Our HVAC specialists can recommend a heat pump that will work well with your current furnace and many times adding this new high tech appliance to your furnace is easier than you may think.

How does a heat pump work with traditional gas systems in Ottawa?

Most Ottawa homeowners are very familiar with the operation of gas furnace. A heat pump will work in tandem with a traditional gas system to deliver you comfort year round while saving you money and benefiting the environment. In cooling mode, a heat pump is identical to an air conditioner. It uses a series of coils to remove heat from the home and move it to the outdoors. While this cycle is happening, your furnace fan is distributing the cool, dehumidified air throughout the home. In the winter, the opposite cycle is happening. The heat pump is removing heat from the outdoor air and delivering it into your home, as the furnace fan pushes it through the ductwork. When temperatures get below a certain set point, the heat pump will turn off and the gas furnace will turn on.

This process is automated and set up by our installers depending on your goals. We may set your system up with what we call “economic balance point”. With this balance point we can determine at what temperature it is cheaper to run your gas furnace or heat pump. We can also set the system up to run to the very limits of the heat pump(-30C and colder) with the gas furnace barely turning on. This may be slightly more expensive but will drastically cut your carbon footprint. Regardless of your goals or current furnace, there is most definitely a heat pump that will work for you.

Bosch BOVA heat pump installed by Bosch dealer AirZone HVAC Services.

What are the advantages of a hybrid furnace/heat pump system?

When we combine a heat pump with a gas furnace this system is called a “hybrid” heating system. There are many advantages to this amazing heating source, whether you are comparing it to a standard furnace or a fully electric systems.

Pros VS traditional gas furnace

  • You get highly efficient cooling
  • It is cheaper to operate at mild temperatures compared to natural gas and significantly cheaper than propane or oil
  • It can drastically reduce your carbon footprint and is better for the environment
  • Heat pumps tend to run quieter than air conditioners in cooling mode
  • You get the redundancy of two appliances (if the heat pump breaks, the furnace is there and vice versa)

Pros VS fully electric heat pump

  • Current infrastructure is usually sufficient (Fully electric systems often require upgraded panels and ductwork modifications)
  • Can be cheaper to operate and cheaper upfront
  • Can generally run much easier on generators during emergency situations
  • (Please note there are also advantages of fully electric systems that make them beneficial as well)
The Bosch BGH96 gas furnace is a popular choice in Ottawa.
Bosch gas furnace installed in downtown Ottawa This system has a MACL filter cabinet for improved airflow and better filtration

How to take advantage of rebates in Ottawa when buying a furnace?

When purchasing a new furnace in Ottawa, combining it with a central heat pump can help offset costs. Rebates are available for up to $7100! A qualifying system will allow you to replace you furnace at no cost if you are also installing a cold climate heat pump. At AirZone HVAC Services, we are experts in helping you navigate the current rebate market and can even coordinate the audits for you! If you have any questions concerning heat pumps, feel free to call our office at 613 592 5770 and speak with an expert today.

A Bosch IDS Premium 2.0 installed in the side yard of a residential home in Kanata, Ontario. AirZone HVAC Services completed the installation in 2023.

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