Types of Heat Pumps

There are three main types of heat pump systems. Use the information below to determine the system that’s best suited for your climate and home.

Air-Source Heat Pumpsair source heat pump


  • Most commonly used heat pumps
  • Moves heat rather than converting it from a fuel like combustion heating systems do
  • Can reduce heating costs by about 50 percent when compared to baseboard heaters or electric furnaces
  • Newer, more efficient systems now represent a legitimate space heating alternative in colder regions like the Northeast and Midwest.
    Note: If temperatures in your area drop below 10 to 25 F, you will need an auxiliary heating system (depending on the size of the system).

Geothermal Heat Pumpsgeothermal heat pump illustration


  • More expensive to install but provide more energy savings for heating and cooling
  • Move heat through pipes buried underground
  • When compared to a conventional heating system, can reduce energy use by 25 to 50 percent
  • Effective in extreme climates
  • Not ideal for smaller lots and certain soil conditions

Ductless Mini-Split Heat PumpsDuctless mini-split heat pump illustration


  • Easier to install, quiet, small in size
  • Flexible for heating and cooling individual rooms and smaller spaces
  • No energy loss through ductwork,
    which accounts for more than 30 percent of a home’s energy use for space heating/cooling.
  • Installation can be pricey, but federal incentives may be available

Heat pump systems should be installed by a licensed professional. Contact your local electric cooperative for more information about options and potential incentives.

Sources: Dept. of Energy and Consumer Reports