Air Source Heat Pumps

How do Air Source Heat Pumps Work?

Air source heat pumps (ASHPs) offer highly efficient heating and cooling in one integrated system. ASHPs are air conditioners that pump heat out of your home in the summer. They reverse in the winter, becoming heaters that pump heat into your home.

Heat pumps are so efficient because they transfer heat rather than generate it.

What are the Benefits of Air Source Heat Pumps?

According to ENERGY STAR®, air source heat pumps offer many benefits, including*:

  • Cutting heating costs compared to conventional heating systems. An ENERGY STAR certified ASHP can provide heating for approximately 1/3 the cost of traditional electric baseboard heating, depending on where you live, and approximately 1/2 the cost of oil heat. An ASHP is so efficient it can deliver up to three times more heat energy to a home than the electrical energy it consumes.
  • Reducing cooling costs compared to conventional room air conditioners. During the summer months, a central ASHP automatically becomes a central air conditioner, and with ENERGY STAR, you will have reduced cooling bills due to its highly efficient operation.
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions. An ASHP is good for your home and good for the planet. ENERGY STAR certified models avoid more than 4,500 lbs of greenhouse gas emissions, on average, over the course of their lifespan compared to standard systems.
  • Heating and cooling in one system. ASHPs offer highly efficient heating and cooling in one integrated system.

*All benefits directly quoted from

Ducted vs. Ductless

There are two types of air source heat pumps: Ducted and Ductless.

A ducted air source heat pump uses existing ductwork in your home to deliver heating and cooling. According to ENERGY STAR, in most climate zones, an ASHP can be installed as a drop-in replacement when either a central air conditioner or furnace needs replaced.

A ductless heat pump, also known as a mini-split heat pump, uses indoor units connected to an outdoor unit via refrigerant lines, rather than ductwork. Each indoor unit can provide customized heating and cooling in different rooms throughout your home.

Speak with your HVAC contractor to determine which air source heat pump option is best for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do heat pumps work well in cold weather environments?

According to ENERGY STAR, many new ENERGY STAR certified ASHPs excel at providing space heating even in the coldest of climates, as they use advanced compressors and refrigerants that allow for improved low temperature performance. Talk to your contractor to choose an ENERGY STAR unit suited to your particular home.

My home is suited for a ductless heat pump, but I don’t want indoor units visible in my home. Is there a solution to this?

According to ENERGY STAR, ductless system manufacturers offer ceiling-recessed and short-run horizontal, duct-based air handlers, to provide a look some U.S. homeowners are more comfortable with.


How to Start Saving

The Ameren Illinois Energy Efficiency Program offers incentives to help you become more energy efficient with air source heat pumps.

Select one of the options below to get started: