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Heat pumps are the perfect heating system option for colder parts of British Columbia. While in these regions, cold climate heat pumps are recommended, they become increasingly popular even in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island. Cold climate heat pumps are built to work efficiently in conditions down to -25 degrees Celsius, with some systems maintaining an efficiency of over 200% at -18 degrees Celsius1.  Cold climate heat pumps have been tested in Canadian winters since the early 2010s2.
Since the air outside will always contain some heat, a heat pump can supply heat to a house even on cold winter days. In fact, air at –18°C contains about 85 percent of the heat it contained at 21°C2.

To be classified as a cold climate heat pump under the federal Canada Greener Homes Grant, heat pumps must have a coefficient of performance (COP) of 1.8 or higher at -15 degrees Celsius. This means, the heat pump must maintain an efficiency of at least 180% at -15 degrees Celsius.

When purchasing a cold climate heat pump consult with your contractor about the right type of system for your home.   In most climate zones in the province, in particular for the lower mainland and Vancouver Island, there would be no need to install a back up heating system.  To check the average and extreme temperatures of your region see Environment Canada’s Climate Normals Data.

References

  1. Yukon Energy, Mines and Resources. An Evaluation of Air Source Heat Pump Technology in Yukon. http://www.energy.gov.yk.ca/pdf/air_source_heat_pumps_final_may2013_v04.pdf. May 31, 2013. Accessed February 2020.
  2. Natural Resources Canada. Clean Energy Fund Public Project Report. https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/sites/www.nrcan.gc.ca/files/energy/pdf/CEF-Outreach-Report.pdf. March 31, 2015. Accessed February 2020.