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FAQ

What is an ‘Air Source’ heat pump?
An air sourced heat pump uses a compressor and refrigerant to extract heat from the outside air and bring it in to heat the home. This type of system uses a fraction of the power that an electric furnace would need to heat a home because most of the heat coming from the outside air. Air sourced heat pumps are also able to cool and provide air conditioning in the summer.

Click here for more information from Natural Resources Canada.

Westisle is able to offer a full range of heat pump options with efficiency and cost to suit most budgets. This includes new variable speed or VRF models from Trane and Mitsubishi. These systems offer exception performance in cold weather and are among the quietest systems available.

If we presently have either an oil, gas or electric furnace. Can we add a heat pump to it?
Yes, many Westisle customers have added a heat pump to their existing oil, gas or electric furnace to cut heating expenses. You would then use your oil, gas or electric furnace as back-up heat, which in this climate, would be very infrequent. You could expect your oil bills to drop substantially.

Will a heat pump heat the whole house all the time?
If you have hooked up a heat pump to an existing ducted forced air system the heat pump will provide both heating in winter and cooling and dehumidifying in summer. However, when the outside temperature goes below 4 degrees Celsius the auxiliary heating system might kick in to supply the added heat needed to keep the house at your desired temperature.

In summer can I get central air conditioning throughout the house?
Yes, one of the nice benefits of owning a heat pump is; not only do you get economical heating, but with the flick of a switch you can enjoy cooling throughout the house in summer.

How do I know what size of heat pump I need and where to situate the outside condensing unit?
A Westisle customer service representative will be happy to come out to your home and do a complete heat loss analysis to determine the size and location of your new heat pump.

What gets hooked up to my existing furnace when I add a heat pump?
Should you decide to go ahead with a adding a heat pump to your furnace the following items will be added.

An example of a split heat pump application (an indoor air handler and an outdoor unit).
A disconnect electrical switch will be placed close to the outdoor condensing unit. Two small diameter copper pipes (one suction line and one vapor line) will be extended from the condensing unit and run into your furnace. These lines will be installed with great care as to look as pleasing as possible.

 

In the furnace area the pipes will be hooked up to an ‘A’ coil inside the plenum of your furnace.

 

If needed, we will install a new thermostat to control your new heat pump investment. Westisle can also offer you a full seven- day program capability thermostat as well.

How do I know if my present electrical service is adequate?

A Government Certified Electrician should do an inspection to make sure you have adequate power to run the new heat pump. If your present system is sufficient, then in most cases an additional line voltage wire will have to be run from the fuse box out to the new shut-off box located outside beside the condensing unit. If it is determined that your present amperage is not sufficient then the Government Certified Electrician will give you a quote on upgrading your present electrical box.

We are looking at building a new house using a heat pump as our main heat source. Can Westisle Heating & Cooling help us?
Yes, Westisle personnel will be happy to study your blue prints and make the appropriate recommendations. Westisle will give you a detailed quote on a full installation including ductwork, thermostat, and heat pump. We employ only Government Certified Sheet Metal and Refrigeration Technicians to perform work on your house. The entire job is tested and warranted.

Should we look at purchasing a new thermostat when adding a new heat pump?
Yes, in most cases the older thermostat will not accommodate the addition of a heat pump. There are basically two types available for a heat pump. One is a non-programmable thermostat and the other is a Seven-Day programmable thermostat. A Westisle customer service representative can explain the benefits of either one.

Why should I look at using Westisle Heating & Cooling to install my new heat pump?
Westisle Heating & Cooling has been servicing the lower portion of Vancouver Island with prompt and courteous service for years. With the purchase of the company in 2004 by Foster Air Conditioning Ltd., Westisle can now take advantage of Foster’s 80 years of experience. Foster’s has installed in excess of 2500 heat pumps both commercially and residentially since the early 70′s. Consequently Foster’s has installed more heat pumps than anyone else on Vancouver Island. All of our refrigeration and sheet metal technicians are Government Certified and come with the many years of experience necessary to properly install and service your new investment. We place considerable emphasis on our customers’ satisfaction. To that end, we offer an “100% Satisfaction Guarantee” assurance in addition to our Standard Warranty options. All technicians are required to attend weekly debriefing meetings. There, decisions center around: improvements in customer satisfaction, better response times and discussions on up to date developments in the newest equipment.

Westisle has also been a member of the Better Business Bureau of Vancouver Island maintaining an A+ rating since 1981.

How do I get rid of my existing oil furnace?
As part of our heat pump installation, Westisle will remove and dispose of the “old furnace” only. Removal and disposal of the oil tank will be the home owners responsibility and should be carried out by a licensed oil disposal company

Where can I get more information on Trane heat pumps, how they work and the benefits of owning one?
Please click here to read more about Trane heat pumps.

If you want more detailed information on how heat pumps work click on:
Natural Resources Canada – Air Source Heat Pumps

Should you want something in writing; simply contact us and ask for a technical service representative. He will be happy to mail you a 51 page booklet put out by the National Resources Canada – Office of Energy Efficiency. The booklet’s title is: “Heating and Cooling with a Heat Pump” There is no charge for the booklet.

What if I wanted to get rid of my old oil furnace altogether? Could I get a heat pump and more efficient back-up heat?
Yes, you could replace your old furnace with an air handler and optional electric heat (as per below). In most cases the new air handler will be smaller than your existing “old” oil furnace. The electric back up heat would only come on occasionally.



 

What is SEER, TONNAGE AND AFUE?
SEER: The seasonal energy-efficiency ratio (SEER) rates how many Btu an air-conditioning unit will remove for each watt of electricity consumed. The higher the SEER, the less you spend on operating costs. Federal law mandates a minimum SEER of 13 for all new air-conditioning units.

TONNAGE: An air-conditioning ton equals 12,000 Btu per hour. That means a three-ton air conditioner can remove about 36,000 Btu of heat per hour from your home.

AFUE: The annual fuel-utilization efficiency estimates how much heat a unit delivers for every dollar spent on fuel. The higher the AFUE, the lower your heating bills.