Heat Pump

Why Are Heat Pumps More Efficient Than Resistive Heaters?

Investing in a reliable heating and cooling system that is both financially-friendly and energy-efficient is important for your home. While electric resistive heaters are extremely energy-efficient, they may not be the best heating method for your home. In fact, heat pumps may be more efficient than resistive heaters. However, you may be asking yourself, why are heat pumps more efficient than resistive heaters?

What are heat pumps?

Like your refrigerator, heat pumps use electricity to move heat from a cool space to a warm space, making the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer. During the heating season, heat pumps move heat from the cool outdoors into your warm house and during the cooling season, heat pumps move heat from your cool house into the warm outdoors. Since heat pumps move heat rather than generate heat, they can provide equivalent space conditioning at as little as one-quarter of the cost of operating conventional heating or cooling appliances.


Heat pumps extract heat from the outside air to heat your home. Their energy efficiency of heat pumps depends on the climate outside. In a moderate climate, heat pumps can be extremely efficient at converting electricity into heat. In a colder climate, heat pump efficiency plummets because the heat pump has to work harder in order to deliver the same level of energy output than it normally would in a moderate climate.


There are a few different types of heat pump systems:

  • Air Source Heat Pump

An air-source heat pump can provide efficient heating and cooling for your home. When properly installed, an air-source heat pump can deliver one-and-a-half to three times more heat energy to a home than the electrical energy it consumes.

  • Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pump

In a mini-split system, energy use is greatly reduced and less energy is lost through the ducts. Mini-splits do not utilize ductwork. This is why they are often referred to as ductless systems. While there are other ductless systems, mini-split systems are far easier and more convenient than their counterparts. Many other ductless systems utilize an external heating source such as water heaters or space heaters that utilize kerosene or propane. Mini-split systems give you the benefits of a ductless system without the negatives associated with external heating sources.

  • Geothermal Heat Pumps

Geothermal heat pumps, sometimes referred to as earth-coupled, ground-source, or water-source heat pumps, use the constant temperature of the earth as the exchange medium instead of the outside air temperature.

What are resistive heaters?

Electric resistive heaters convert 100% of the incoming electricity into heat. Most heating systems utilize coal, gas, oil, or wood to generate heat, which only converts around 30% of the fuel’s energy into electricity. Electric resistance heat can be supplied by centralized forced-air electric furnaces or by heaters in each room. Room heaters can consist of electric baseboard heaters, electric wall heaters, electric radiant heat, or electric space heaters. There are several different types of electric resistive heaters:

  • Electric Furnaces

Electric furnaces are one of the more expensive to operate electric resistive heating systems. Because heat is delivered through a centralized duct system, it requires more energy to operate. Additionally, duct heating systems lose a lot of energy to air leakage.

  • Electric Baseboard Heating

Electric baseboard heaters are zonal heaters controlled by thermostats located in each room. Baseboard heaters are typically installed underneath windows where the rising hot air counteracts the cold air coming from the cold window glass. The quality of baseboard heaters varies greatly.

Are heat pumps more efficient than resistive heaters?

In most climates, heat pumps are by far the most energy-efficient heating system. In fact, they can cut electricity use by up to 50% when compared to electric resistive heaters. High-efficiency heat pumps also dehumidify better than standard central air conditioners, resulting in less energy usage and more cooling comfort in summer months. While there is an exception in dry climates, there are so few heating days that the high cost of heating is not economically significant.


When considering all of the available options for your home’s heating system, it is important to speak with a trusted professional. The heating and cooling experts at Home Comfort Experts have extensive experience inspecting, repairing, and installing heating and cooling systems. Contact the heating and cooling professionals at Home Comfort Experts today to learn about the ways we can help you. We serve Northern Indiana and Southwestern Michigan from our 12 locations. Give us a call at (574) 255-4600 to learn about our full complement of heating, cooling and plumbing services.