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Energy efficient air-source heat pumps are a great way to stay warm or cool, save money, and heat or cool your home in an environmentally friendly way.

Air Source Heat Pump Basics

Air source heat pumps supply your home with both heating and cooling. Like a refrigerator or air conditioner, heat pumps use electricity to move heat from a cool space to a warm space. In the winter, a heat pump will move heat from outside into your home, making your home warmer. In the summer, a heat pump moves heat from your house into the outdoors, acting as an air conditioning system.

Ducted Air-Source Heat Pumps

A ducted air-source heat pump system distributes heated or cooled air using your home’s existing ductwork. A typical system consists of an indoor air handling unit, often located in the basement, and an outdoor unit containing a compressor. Essentially, heat pumps are like air conditioners that can run in reverse.


A ductless air source heat pump, also known as a mini-split, has no ducts. Mini splits are small in size and can be used flexibly for zoning or heating and cooling individual rooms.

Using Heat Pumps in Massachusetts

Can air-source heat pumps be used as the sole source of heat in New England? Yes! Earlier generations of air source heat pumps did not stand up well to long periods of sub-freezing weather, but heat pump technology has advanced so that it can be used as the sole source of heat even in colder areas.

Heat Pumps, Energy Efficiency, Rebates, and Incentives

Heat pumps are more energy efficient than conventional heating technologies such as boilers or electric heaters because most of the heat is transferred rather than generated. In addition, because heat pumps use electricity rather than gas or oil, using them to heat your home helps to reduce carbon emissions. This is because over time, more and more of our electricity in Massachusetts will be obtained from renewable resources like wind and solar energy. Because of this, rebates and incentives exist to help pay for the cost of heat pump installation when you are replacing your entire heating system with air source heat pumps.

Their efficiency as air conditioners is an additional benefit. Air source heat pumps are generally more efficient than conventional air conditioning systems.

Keeping Your Heat Pump or Mini-Split Running Well

Like any other heating or cooling system, heat pumps should be tuned up annually. Regular preventive maintenance helps keep the heat pumps running efficiently and prevents extra wear and tear. It’s especially important to keep the right amount of refrigerant in the heat pump. If you don’t have enough refrigerant in the system, you’ll lose efficiency, and over time, serious problems may develop.

Some signs your heat pump may need to be repaired are:

    • Freezing in the winter. The defrost cycle usually gets rid of any snow and ice that form on your outside unit during the winter. If a heavy coat of ice forms, it’s time to call us for a repair.
    • Summer freeze-ups. Just like air conditioners, your heat pump may freeze up in summer. This may be due to a refrigerant leak or clogged line. If this happens, shut the system down to prevent further damage and call us right away.
    • Your system running constantly. If this is happening, establish that the thermostat is set to the correct temperature. If that is not the issue, call us so we can troubleshoot it.

    Designing Your Heat Pump System for Great Performance

    Getting the most out of your heat pump system starts with making sure the system is designed to address your needs. Are you looking to replace your entire home’s heating system, just add some zoned heat or air conditioning, or you’re not sure? Our HVAC technicians will make sure we’re addressing all your needs and are comfortable with the location of the indoor and outdoor units and the thermostats and controls setup.

    Heat pump sizing refers to choosing the right number and size (in BTUs) of heat pumps. “Oversizing” a system will not only waste electricity, it will cause a heat pump to turn on and off repeatedly as it tries to meet the set temperature. This causes wear and tear on the unit. “Undersizing” may result in the your home never reaching the temperature you’ve set on the thermostat, making the heat pump run continuously and drive up your energy bill.

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