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Resistance Heat vs. Heat Pump

It is a common misconception that any electric heat is inefficient…This is definitely NOT the case when utilizing a heat pump in your home or business. This post aims to spread a basic understanding of the differences between resistance heat and heat pumps.

One of the most frequent questions we are asked during the sales consultation process is if Mitsubishi systems are powered only with electricity (which they are) and how are they able to be so efficient if typically electric heat is thought to be so inefficient. Really this all starts because people tend to think of electric heat as the baseboard heaters installed at floor level that are often found in seasonal New England beach homes and cottages. These heaters are “resistance heaters” and they produce resistance baseboard heat and yes they actually are very inefficient. We have head stories where a baseboard heater has been left running and the homeowner ends up paying exorbitant heating bills. We find that because of the inefficiencies related to electric baseboard heating, people also expect that anything involving electricity for heating will in turn be just as inefficient. What people don’t realize is that a heat pump does not work at all in the same way as these inefficient baseboard resistance heaters.

Baseboards Create Heat, Heat Pumps Move Heat

With baseboard heat you are using amperage and resistance in the wire within the baseboard to generate heat out of thin air. All that amperage is very expensive and will make an electric meter spin round and round leading to high electric bills. The difference with a Mitsubishi system or any heat pump is that heat isn’t “created” as much as it is “moved” from outside to inside. It is a little bit difficult to understand, bit there is still heat in the air even when it is 0 degrees Fahrenheit outside. A heat pump uses refrigerant to steal this heat and move it through the refrigerant line indoors. So the main difference is that a baseboard heater using electric resistance creates heat, while a Mitsubishi heat pump moves heat. It is much more efficient to move heat than it is to create it from nothing.

We hope this helps to clear it up for everyone why Mitsubishi heat pumps and heat pumps in general are able to be so much more efficient than a standard resistance baseboard heater. Have more questions? Contact us today for a free consultation.