Air-Source Heat Pump

Whether you use air, water, or another fluid, heating and cooling systems use a lot of energy. The good news is that you can cut your energy use and costs significantly with ENERGY STAR® certified air-source heat pumps and water heaters.

Air-Source Heat Pumps

There are many ways to heat and cool your home. Air-source heat pumps (ASHPs) move heat between the outside and inside of your home to keep your home a comfortable temperature all year round. ASHPs have been used for many years in nearly all parts of the United States. Recent technology advancements now make them a strong alternative for space heating in colder regions like New York State.

Today's ASHP can reduce your electricity use for heating by approximately 50% and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. They also dehumidify better than standard central air- conditioners, resulting in less energy usage and more cooling comfort in summer months.

Types of Air-Source Heat Pumps

Ducted vs. Ductless

Ducted systems simply use ductwork. They are central systems that provide heating and cooling through ductwork. If your home already has a ventilation system or the home will be a new construction, you might consider this option.

Ductless heat pumps, also known as mini-splits, consist of two units: a slim outdoor condenser, an indoor air handler. This indoor unit is connected to the outdoor compressor through a small opening in the wall or ceiling behind it. This means that mini splits don’t require ductwork to carry warm or cold air throughout the home. No ductwork means that mini-splits are very space-saving and flexible in where they can be placed, making them perfect for renovations and home additions. Systems can be single or multi-zone. Single-zone heat or cool one room while multi-zone have two or more indoor air handlers connected to an outdoor condenser allowing you to heat or cool individual rooms, hallways, and open spaces.


  • Quiet to operate and highly efficient, because they move heat rather than convert it.
  • Saves money on heating, if your home is currently heated with electricity, fuel oil or propane.
  • Saves money on cooling because air-source heat pumps provide more efficient air conditioning than most other cooling systems.
  • Lower your home carbon emissions, depending on which fuel you are displacing.

Installing an Air-Source Heat Pump

Work with your HVAC contactor to ensure that they:

  • Size the unit appropriately
  • Use the Cold Climate ASHP specification listingLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page., developed by the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership, to help identify ones that are best suited to heat efficiently in cold climates. 
  • Help you select an air-source heat pump with demand-defrost control. This will minimize the defrost cycles, reducing energy use.

These are some other factors to consider when working with your HVAC contractor to choose and install an air-source heat pump:

  • Like air-conditioning units, fans and compressors can make noise. Locate the outdoor unit away from windows and adjacent buildings, and select an air-source heat pump with an outdoor sound rating of 7.6 bels or lower. Sound rating is measured in bels. Bels, like decibels, range from 0-13. The quietest units will have a bel rating around 6.8 with the noisier units rating over 8.You can also reduce this noise by mounting the unit on a noise-absorbing base.
  • The location of the outdoor unit may affect its efficiency. Outdoor units should be protected from high winds, which can cause defrosting problems. You can strategically place a bush or a fence upwind of the coils to block the unit from high winds.

Hot Water Heaters

You can cut your electric water heating costs in half with an ENERGY STAR certified heat pump water heater. That means saving almost $300 per year on electricity bills for the average household.

Boost your energy savings with these energy-saving tips.

Related: Ground-source Heat Pump