Do Heat Pumps Work in Cold Weather?

women heating home during the winter with a heat pump mini split

One of the most common myths about heat pumps is that they don’t work in cold weather. This might have been true back in the 80s, but the technology behind heat pump heating and cooling systems has advanced rapidly in recent years. 

Today’s cold-climate heat pumps provide energy efficient heating in temperatures as low as -15°F! If you’re ready for a modern, energy efficient heating system that will keep your family warm all winter long, a heat pump is a great choice. 

Neeeco has partnered with the Sponsors of Mass Save® to help Massachusetts residents save on heat pump installation costs with rebates up to $10,000! Schedule your no-cost Mass Save Home Energy Assessment to learn more. 

How Cold-Climate Heat Pumps Work

A cold-climate heat pump is a type of heat pump heating and cooling system designed specifically for cold climates. They can be ducted (connected to central ductwork) or ductless. Ductless heat pumps are also known as mini split heat pumps. 

Both ducted and ductless heat pumps use the same technology to heat and cool a home. 

Here’s how they work: 

In cooling mode, the heat pump captures heat from the air inside your house and releases it into the air outside. This is the same process an air conditioner uses (an air conditioner is actually a type of heat pump).

In heating mode, the process is reversed. The heat pump extracts heat from the air outside and brings it into your home. It might not feel like it’s warm enough for this to be possible during a New England winter, but there are always trace amounts of heat in the air. Cold-climate heat pumps are designed to draw heat energy from cold air and release it into your home. They work in sub-zero temperatures, all the way down to -15°F. 

Heat Pump Efficiency in Cold Weather 

Heat pumps and mini splits work in cold weather, but do they retain their efficiency in freezing temperatures? Yes! Ground source heat pumps, for example, can be up to 400% efficient—even in sub-zero temperatures.

Unlike furnaces and boilers, heat pumps move heat from one place to another instead of burning fuel to create heat. This is a much more efficient process, which is why modern heat pumps have such impressive efficiency ratings. 

It’s important to note that not all heat pumps are cold-climate heat pumps. Neeeco can help you choose the best heat pump for your Massachusetts home and make sure it is powerful enough to keep you warm no matter how low the temperature drops. 

Partial-Home Heat Pumps Can Supplement a Furnace

If you want a more energy efficient heating and cooling system but you’re not ready to give up your furnace quite yet, a partial-home heat pump system could be a great option. 

In a partial-home system, mini splits are installed throughout your home, but your furnace stays put. The mini splits provide the majority of your heat, but your furnace will kick into action if needed. This is a great way to offset heating and cooling to specific rooms in your home, like your kid’s bedroom that’s always way too cold or the underheated room above your garage. 

Save up to $10,000 with Mass Save Heat Pump Rebates 

The Sponsors of Mass Save offer generous heating rebates to help Massachusetts residents upgrade their heating systems. With Mass Save heat pump rebates, you can save up to $10,000 on a new heat pump heating and cooling system. 

Neeeco is a Mass Save Partner and we can help you take advantage of these savings. We would love to help you save energy and make your home more comfortable year-round with a new heat pump HVAC system. Schedule your no-cost Home Energy Assessment to get started! 

*Some restrictions apply. Offers are subject to change or cancellation. Visit for full details.

Schedule a no-cost Home Energy Assessment today. Call 781-309-7540 or self-schedule your assessment