Heat Pumps: Exploring Electric Heating and Cooling Opportunities for Electrical Contractors

Raiven heat pumps

Author: Brett Knox
May 30, 2024 - 6 MIN. READ

The electrification of heating and cooling is on the rise. One of the trends dominating this market is the growing demand for heat pumps, an energy-efficient solution that draws heat from the air or ground and transfers it to a home or building.

For electrical contractors, the growing demand for heat pumps is creating exciting opportunities since upgrading a home or building with a heat pump often requires electrical work.

What Is a Heat Pump?

Heat pumps are an energy-efficient heating and cooling solution that extracts geothermal heat from the air or ground before transferring it to the inside air, a radiator system, or under-floor heating systems. Some heat pumps also replace traditional water heaters by transferring heat to a water tank.

Since heat pumps transfer existing heat rather than generate it, they use far less energy. In fact, the average heat pump is three to five times more energy-efficient than a gas boiler.

In the summer, heat pumps double as AC systems that use refrigerant to extract heat from a home or building’s indoor air, much like a traditional AC unit would.

It’s worth noting that heat pumps are available in a wide range of sizes and use diverse technologies. For instance, some models draw heat from the outside air or a nearby water source rather than relying on geothermal heat.

Heat Pump Market Overview

With the average homeowner saving $300 a year after installing a heat pump, there is a strong argument in favor of embracing electric heating and cooling.

Homeowners and building owners are increasingly seeking cost-effective and sustainable heating and cooling solutions, resulting in a projected CAGR of 9.7% over the next decade for the heat pump market.

Because heat pumps can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 20% compared to natural gas, they’re an ideal solution for supporting ESG programs and statewide sustainability plans. As a result, consumers and business owners have access to a number of incentives that offset the cost of installing a heat pump, including tax credits and rebates.

Heat Pump Opportunities and Partnerships

A qualified HVAC contractor will perform the installation process, including assessing the property for heat sources, determining the ideal size for the heat pump, and installing the heat pump according to local building codes.

However, heat pump installation projects often require electrical upgrades due to the increased power draw. Here’s how you can unlock new opportunities as an electrical contractor.

Load Calculation

A heat pump can use over 5,000 kWh a year, making it one of the top energy draws for a home or building.

Your expertise is important in assessing how the heat pump will impact current energy usage and determining if the existing electrical infrastructure can handle the additional load. Your role also entails informing customers and HVAC contractors of the safety risks associated with overloading an electrical infrastructure.

Panel Upgrades

A panel upgrade will often be required to accommodate the increased energy draw from the heat pump.

Besides installing a panel with a greater capacity, you can help customers explore the benefits of load shedding devices or smart panels. A smart panel can be a good match for those interested in heat pumps since connected features can increase visibility over energy usage, aligning with goals such as managing costs and reducing energy usage. Smart energy management features can also prioritize the power draw from the heating and cooling circuit over other appliances, equipment or devices.

Plus, a panel upgrade opens the door for further electrification projects. If adopting an electric heat pump solution is part of a broader electrification project, EV charging is a logical inclusion in the discussion.

Wiring the Heat Pump

An HVAC contractor will install the heat pump, but your expertise is needed to wire this appliance. Heat pumps run on a dedicated 240V circuit. If a circuit doesn’t already exist, you’ll have to install one, add a breaker for safety, and install a disconnect for the outside unit.

You also have an essential role in reviewing electrical code requirements and making sure the installation is code-compliant.

Renewable and Storage Integration

Powering a heat pump with a clean source of energy can result in additional savings while supporting sustainability goals. As an electrical contractor, you can help homeowners and building managers explore renewable integration to power the heat pump and other circuits.

Solar panels are emerging as a clean and affordable way to power heat pumps as material and installation costs keep decreasing. Some customers will also benefit from investing in a battery storage solution to reduce dependency on the grid and always have clean energy on hand to power their heat pump.

Building Connections

Working on electric heating and cooling projects is an opportunity to network with homeowners and building managers who are interested in electrification.

Even if you’re only wiring a heat pump, building new connections can lead to future opportunities as customers explore additional electrification projects and new solutions become available.

Exploring New Opportunities for Electrical Contractors

For electrical contractors, this trend towards heat pumps is translating into exciting opportunities since wiring a heat pump requires your expertise. You can win more jobs and make more money by securing your equipment, materials, and supplies with a purchasing program like Raiven.

Leveraging collective buying power, we offer substantial discounts, favorable service terms, and streamlined supply chain logistics on a range of essential products, from automation controls to EV charging stations, lighting fixtures, wiring, panels, and beyond. And you save time and headaches haggling with suppliers since Raiven does all the negotiating for you.

Gain access to pre-negotiated discounts of 7%-30% from industry-leading manufacturers and distributors like ABB, alpscontrols, ChargePoint, Ferguson, Grainger, Graybar, Home Depot, HD Supply, Lowe’s, Schneider Electric, Sunbelt Rentals, United Rentals, and more.

Raiven is committed to supporting electrical contractors by providing exclusive pricing agreements on electrical equipment, parts, and maintenance supplies, all through a streamlined purchasing platform designed for fast and efficient procurement. Other key benefits:

Learn more about how we help electrical contractors like yourself master procurement in a rapidly changing market.