What Are Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs)?

Heat pumps are part of a heating and cooling system, and are used to transfer heat into or out of your house. Heat pumps use electricity, which provides a pathway to reducing fossil fuel consumption as the electric grid adds more renewable resources over time.

In addition to accommodating renewable energy, heat pumps also boast great energy efficiency compared to other building heating systems. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “an air-source heat pump can deliver up to three times more heat energy to a home than the electrical energy it consumes.” Compare that 300% efficiency to that of propane gas furnaces, which usually rate a little over 90%, and you can see that heat pumps are the clear winner.

Read on for more information about how this climate-friendly technology works and the types of heat pump systems you can find on the market.

How Do Air Source Heat Pumps Work?

Heat pumps do not generate heat. Instead, they transfer heat from one medium to another. To cool your house, heat pumps pull heat from the air in your home and transfer it outside. In colder months, heat pumps warm your house by pulling in heat from the outdoors (even in colder weather).

In the earlier years of its development, heat pumps were primarily used in mild climates, but improved technology has made ASHPs an accessible—and powerful—heating system for colder climates. They can provide heat to your home in temperatures as low as -13°F, and have become a popular choice amongst homeowners in colder states like Colorado.

Types of Air Source Heat Pump Systems

There are two different types of ASHP systems and which one is most suitable for your home will depend on factors such as your home square footage, existing heating infrastructure and the different costs of equipment and installation labor.

Ducted ASHP: Ducted systems make use of new or existing duct work to provide conditioned air throughout the house from a centralized source.

Ductless ASHP: Ductless heat pumps are air source heat pumps that can be used in houses that don’t have existing ductwork. Also called a mini-split heat pump, these systems feature indoor and outdoor units connected by a refrigerant line installed through an exterior wall.

Because heat pumps are such an environmentally friendly option, some states and utility companies offer benefits such as rebates or discounts to homeowners choosing to install them—a win-win. In Colorado, depending on your utility company, you may be eligible for a rebate for installing a heat pump system. You’ll also be able to receive a 10% state tax credit!

Here at the Colorado Clean Energy Fund, we support Coloradoans in their efforts to transition to clean energy. We use the tools we have as a green bank to break down the financial barriers that inhibit access to clean energy for communities across the state. Learn about our Colorado RENU program here to see how we can help you upgrade your home with air source heat pumps.