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Heat pumps help cool, warm and cleanse the air

By Erin Hitchcock, Air Aware Educator

Now that summer is here, we will likely begin to experience some hot weather and will look for ways to keep cool.

While air conditioning units are a common solution, another possible option is heat pumps, which, according to CleanBC Better Homes, also help cleanse the air. That is especially important during wildfire season, as accompanying smoke can affect our health.

“The air filtration system of the heat pump filters indoor air rather than fresh air coming into the home and has the ability to capture airborne contaminants including dust, dirt, allergens, smoke, fibers, bacteria, viruses, fungi, and mold spores,” CleanBC’s website says.

Heat pumps offer many of the benefits of air conditioners by keeping us cool in the summer, but they can also help keep us warmer when temperatures drop.

In the winter, BC Hydro spokesperson Susie Rieder explains, heat pumps pull warm air from outside into one’s home, while in the summer act like air conditioners by moving warm air outside while circulating cool air inside.

“A major benefit of a heat pump is that you can get efficient heating and cooling in one and eliminate the need for portable or central air conditioning,” Reider says, adding heat pumps are powered by hydroelectricity, rather than fossil fuels, and therefore help reduce one’s environmental footprint.

“Heating a typical single-family home entirely with natural gas each year can emit about two tonnes of carbon dioxide—that’s about the same carbon footprint as driving a fossil-fuelled car for 8,000 kilometres,” she says, adding that those interested are advised to consult a licensed residential heating and cooling contractor.

More information can be found by visiting does it work? (

Those interested in getting a heat pump may also qualify for several rebates. Visit for more information.

To learn more about how heat pumps help purify indoor air, visit

To view a short video on how heat pumps work, visit

Erin Hitchcock is an Air Aware educator with Scout Island Nature Centre. Visit our newly updated website at and follow us on Facebook at Air Aware Williams Lake.

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of BC through the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

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