Is there a downside to using heat pumps in certain climates?

Heat pumps are a popular and energy efficient means of heating and cooling one’s home. There are many upsides to using heat pumps including the fact that they can both heat and cool a home. They also run exclusively on electricity, which means that if you have access to electricity, then you will always have a heated or cooled home. So, if heat pumps don’t require a fuel source for heating apart from just simple electricity, and you don’t have to worry about a gas leak, why on earth would you use any other form of heating or air conditioning? Well, heat pumps do not necessarily work efficiently in every type of climate. In fact, the efficiency of many heat pumps will start to decline once the temperature goes below 40° F. By the time the temperature dips below 30° the heat pump will not be able to work as efficiently, and it will consume more energy compared to the amount of heat it is putting out. The reason for this is quite simple and you may have guessed it. Because heat pumps draw outdoor heat into the home, when it gets to be particularly cold outside, there is not enough heat to draw from the outdoors for the heat pump to work efficiently. This does not necessarily mean that heat pumps will stop working entirely, they will just become less and less energy efficient. That being said, there are more and more cold climate heat pump models that are able to remain efficient even at sub-zero temperatures, so this stigma against heat pumps is slowly starting to fade.

 

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