Environmental/Utilities Issues

July, 20 2023 Published by Manitoba Chapter - By Denise Turnali

Upgrade Your Heating and Cooling System to Save Energy

From the CCI Manitoba Summer 2023 Condominium News and Views Magazine

Looking for an energy-efficient heating and cooling system? Air source heat pumps can provide both heating and cooling for condominiums and can reduce electric heating costs by up to 30%.  

In addition to saving energy and money, you can get rebates from Efficiency Manitoba for installing an air source heat pump. A Crown corporation committed to helping Manitobans save money, energy, and the environment, Efficiency Manitoba offers energy efficiency programs and rebates for property managers, owners, and condo boards. By upgrading to an air source heat pump, you and your residents can save energy and money for years to come. 

An air source heat pump typically has both an indoor and outdoor unit. As air travels between the units, a compressor circulates a high-pressure liquid refrigerant that absorbs and releases heat — the same process as your refrigerator. In winter, heat is pulled from the outdoor air to warm your home. In the summer months, it works in reverse, pushing warm air outside to cool your home.

Whyte Ridge Furnace and Air Duct Cleaning has installed dozens of air source heat pumps for customers in Manitoba. Operations Manager Taylor Adolphe says he’s seen people save hundreds of dollars on their monthly energy bills thanks to their air source heat pump. 

“With an air source heat pump, you’re not relying on natural gas to heat your home,” Taylor says.  

“The upfront costs are more, but it’s better in the long run for the environment and your energy bills.” 

Types of air source heat pumps 

There are two kinds of air source heat pumps: conventional and cold climate. While conventional heat pumps shut off when the outdoor temperature reaches -10°C, cold climate heat pumps can operate down to -30°C, depending on the manufacturer’s specifications. For that reason, cold climate air source heat pumps are more suitable in Manitoba. When it becomes too cold outside, an auxiliary heating source is required to maintain the warmth in your home. 

Air source heat pump output and performance reduces significantly as the temperature decreases. Ice can build up on the outdoor unit and automatically activate a defrost cycle, which reverses the air flow, pushing warm air through the outdoor coil to melt built up ice in only a few minutes. 

Air source heat pumps come in centrally ducted and ductless models. The best design for your needs depends on your existing heat source and condo size.  

A centrally ducted heat pump uses forced-air ducting to distribute heating and cooling throughout the unit. This allows air to reach individual rooms and heat the entire space. The existing ducting may require modifications to support the heat pump system. 

If the units in your building use baseboards or a radiator, there likely isn’t ducting installed. In this case, a ductless air source heat pump would be the better choice. Ductless units come in either mini-split or multi-split. A mini-split heat pump has one outdoor unit and one indoor head, usually mounted to the wall. To warm the entire unit, you’ll likely need multiple indoor heads. This is called a multi-split.  

Talking to a contractor will help you determine the best installation for your building. 

Do you qualify for a rebate? 

To qualify for Efficiency Manitoba’s air source heat pump rebate, the heat pump must replace an existing electric furnace or boiler, electric baseboards, or a natural gas heating system. The contractor who installs your heat pump must be registered with Efficiency Manitoba. 

Taylor says working with Efficiency Manitoba has been simple and straightforward, and the quality of service they provide stands out. Efficiency Manitoba’s commitment to exceptional customer service extends to both contractors and customers. Their registered contractors receive training opportunities and materials offered by a team of experts assist their customers through their energy efficiency upgrades.

The unit owners of your building may also be eligible for additional rebates through the federal Canada Greener Homes Initiative. A complete pre- and-post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation of the building needs to be completed in order to be eligible. Through the evaluation, an energy advisor will help you and your tenants understand how their unit uses energy and what steps can be taken to improve its energy efficiency. 

With the Canada Greener Homes Initiative, unit owners can receive a grant of up to $5,000 for installing an air source heat pump. Learn more about the Canada Greener Homes Initiative and find out if your building and unit owners are eligible at canada.ca/greenerhomesinitiative. 

Next steps 

Once you’re ready to upgrade your heating system, we recommend getting quotes from at least three registered Efficiency Manitoba suppliers. The cost of installing an air source heat pump depends on the type of system, existing heating equipment, and ductwork in your home.  

Be sure to check Efficiency Manitoba’s list of eligible heat pumps at efficiencyMB.ca/ashp and send them your application.

Denise Turanli


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