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Expert dispels myths about a popular new indoor heating system — here's what you need to know

"There are newer models that can get the job done in negative 30-degree temperatures."

"There are newer models that can get the job done in negative 30-degree temperatures."

Photo Credit: TikTok

If you're concerned about installing a heat pump in your home, one TikTok account debunks any preconceived notions about its cost or durability with facts and figures. 

Zahra Khozema from Canada's National Observer (@nationalobserver) began her video about the wallet- and eco-friendly system by explaining how it can function as a heater and cooler by transferring heat instead of generating heat.

@nationalobserver Debunking myths about the imfamous heat pump #heatpump #canada #climate #climatesolutions #greenenergy ♬ original sound - Canada's National Observer

"Just like an AC soaks up warm air inside a room and releases it outside, heat pumps can also reverse that process and soak up the heat from the outside and release it inside," she said. "And unlike a furnace that burns natural gas to produce heat, heat pumps burn nothing. This way, no [heat-trapping gases] are released in the atmosphere." 

For those potentially spooked by an anti-heat pump tweet from Laureen Teskey Harper, wife of former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Khozema had just the response.

"In Norway, a country that's half in the Arctic … 60% of homes [use] heat pumps," she said, citing a report from the International Energy Agency. "It just goes to show that there are newer models that can do the job in negative 30-degree temperatures." 

Khozema then shot down a quote from Alberta's Premier, Danielle Smith, who said that homeowners living in places that go below minus-20 degrees Celsius can't get insurance on heat pumps.

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"Some insurance companies might require a backup system, like electric baseboards or gas, but there's no universal policy on it," she said. "And since heat pumps are powered by electricity, most provinces allow an electric backup as an obvious preexisting solution." 

The last myth Khozema dissected was the supposed high operating costs of heat pumps. A report from the Canadian Climate Institute found that heat pumps were the cheapest option among different home heating and cooling technologies about 67% of the time.

She also used the CCI's interactive calculator to show that a standard heat pump with an electric backup in a Toronto townhouse built in 1980 would save about $223 annually over a new gas system paired with a separate AC unit. Meanwhile, a 1940 house in Halifax in the same situation could save about $929. 

So not only does a heat pump's energy efficiency hold a financial advantage over other heating and cooling systems, but it also doesn't pollute the atmosphere with planet-warming gases like carbon dioxide and methane.

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