It’s always the second question homeowners have for us after we tell them how much a heat pump costs, “How much am I going to save?”.
It’s a difficult question to give a definitive answer to because every home layout is different, some homes heat with oil while others heat with electricity and the temperature you’re comfortable with is possibly going to be different than your neighbours.
Of course, this doesn’t mean we can’t give you a guideline of how much you could save.
Let’s first consider electrically heated homes.
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Electric Heat Savings
For homes heating with electric baseboard, your savings come down to how much of an area can you cover with a ductless heat pump, so you don’t need to turn your thermostats up for your electric baseboards. The larger the area you can cover the more savings you’ll enjoy.
Let’s look at an example.
Split entry homes are a fantastic layout for mini-split heat pumps. Let’s say you’re in a split entry home spending $3,500 a year on electricity. We’ll assume that about $2,000 of that is for space heating and the other $1,500 is for your lights, appliances, etc.
To determine where you’re spending the most money on heating you need to analyze where you spend the most time. Is it upstairs? Is it downstairs? It’s in this area you want to install your heat pump.
In this example, let’s say you spend most of your time upstairs and the cost to heat that area is $1,200, which leaves $800 in space heating costs for your lower level. A realistic comparison as we tend to turn our thermostats higher in the areas we spend time in the most.
Where the Savings Come From
In the upstairs of a typical split-entry home, where one-half is open-concept and the other a hallway leading to bedrooms and bath, it’s possible to save on heating costs with only one ductless mini-split system.
How? By installing the correct sized unit in the right location, you’ll dramatically offset all of the electric baseboard heat you typically used in that area.
Remember to turn down all thermostats on that level and keep hallway doors open. The two different types of heating won’t compete, and the entire floor will be a more comfortable temperature.
Ductless heat pumps run 3-4 times more efficiently than electric baseboards, meaning you will be able to heat the same space for 25% to 33% of what it would cost with electric baseboards. This efficiency can equal overall savings between $700 – $900 for the year.
If there’s anything in this article you’re not clear on please complete our form here or give us a call so we can answer your questions!
Oil Hot Water Savings
What if you have oil hot water baseboards or in-floor radiant heat? No problem! The same situation holds true. You want to install your mini-split heat pump in the area of your home where you:
a.) Spend the most time
b.) Turn the thermostats up to keep it warm
Savings work the same way. Let’s say you spend $2400 a year on oil. About $600 of that is likely your hot water, leaving the other $1800 for space heating. Splitting it the same way as in the electric baseboard example (60% of your heating is the upper level) that means $1080 is for that upper level and $720 for the lower level.
Installing the same ductless heat pump could offset almost all of that oil cost on the upper floor. So you’re looking at $350 – $700 per year.
Since oil is slightly less expensive now, the savings are not as drastic as with electricity. Of course, oil is a variable commodity and the price fluctuates. At some point in the near future, I am sure we’ll see higher oil prices once again.
Forced Hot Air Savings
A central forced hot air furnace is a bit different than an oil boiler or electric baseboard setup. Why? Because centrally ducted hot air furnace heating systems are a single zone, it means there’s one thermostat that controls the entire home’s heat. In contrast, most oil hot water or electric systems have multiple zones (multiple thermostats).
Installing a ductless heat pump in a home with a forced air furnace is fine so long as the homeowner recognizes that it could cause your furnace not to come on and keep the other areas of your home warm.
This issue is addressed by installing a multi-zone heat pump system with two or more indoor heads covering all of the living areas in your home.
Another option to consider is getting your home off of oil altogether by replacing your current hot air furnace with a fully electric heat pump system. If you’d like to learn more about ducted heat pump systems, give us a call or submit our form on this page to request an in-home consultation.