Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP)
What is an Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP)?
ASHPs are an energy-efficient alternative to furnaces and air conditioners, even in colder climates and for those with moderate cooling needs. They're an attractive option because they are capable of providing efficient cooling along with heating in the early spring and late fall from one source.
When properly installed, an ASHP can deliver one and a half to three times more heat energy to a home than the electrical energy it consumes (Source: U.S. Department of Energy). As a result, these systems can provide heat for Minnesota’s shoulder seasons (fall and spring) at a higher efficiency and lower cost than electric resistance heating, oil, or propane heating systems—and in some cases, for a lower cost than gas heating as well. You will need a backup heat source when temperatures are below 30°F, typically mid-December through mid-February.
Minnesota Power offers ASHP rebates on both electrically heated and non-electrically heated homes. Click here to find out more about these rebates.
How Does It Work?
ASHPs use electricity to transfer energy between indoor and outdoor air. Because they move heat rather than generate heat, these systems typically consume less electricity than electric-resistance heating systems. In cooling mode, heat pumps function like an air conditioner, moving heat from inside to outside the home. In heating mode, the refrigerant flow is reversed to extract low-temperature heat from outdoors and deliver concentrated high-temperature heat to the home.
These systems typically work well to temperatures as low as 30°F. Below that, a backup or supplemental heating source is required. The backup system can be electric, fossil fuel, or a combination and is typically used from mid-December to mid-February.
Minnesota Power also offers a rebate on Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP). GSHPs are similar to ASHPs but use ground temperature, rather than air, via buried piping or drilled wells and can provide 100% of the building’s heating and cooling needs. Click here to find out more about qualifying GSHP rebates.
The benefits of ASHPs include:
- Increasing the efficiency of your existing heating and cooling system and extending its life.
- Providing energy-efficient heating in late fall and early spring and central air conditioning in the summer.
- Delivering 1.5–3 times more heating energy to a home than the electric energy it consumes (Source: U.S. Department of Energy)—that is a good return on your investment. This is possible because heat pumps move heat instead of converting fuel to heat.
HVAC Quick Glossary
SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio): An energy efficiency rating for residential air conditioners. The higher the SEER, the better the energy performance and the lower the energy costs. The U.S. Department of Energy’s established minimum SEER rating for cooling is 10.
EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio): A measure of the efficiency of cooling equipment at peak performance when the outdoor temperature is at a specific level (usually 95°F). A higher EER means greater energy efficiency.
HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor): Measures the efficiency of residential heating equipment throughout an entire heating season. Typically considered the heating equivalent of SEER. A higher HSP means higher efficiency. The U.S. Department of Energy’s minimum HSP rating is 6.8.
COP (Coefficient of Performance): Measures the efficiency of heating equipment at 17°F and 47°F. A higher COP means higher efficiency. This rating does not reflect how much energy is being used by backup heating sources.
For More Information
- Rebates & Savings
Minnesota Power offers rebates on qualifying air source and ground source heat pumps.
- ENERGY STAR®
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy’s ENERGY STAR® program provides information on energy-efficient products that meet ENERGY STAR® standards.
- Energy-Saving Tools & Info
A wealth of information ranging from basic electricity facts and a home energy library, to more comprehensive topics such as home improvements and construction technology.
- Program Requirements
For links to qualifying systems, contractors and rebate options.
Click here to read the Building Up Newsletter on Air Source Heat Pumps.
Questions on Energy Conservation?