It’s well known that heat pumps are, by far, the most economical form of electric heating available in NZ. But do you know if you are using your heat pump efficiently – are you getting the best performance out of your heat pump?
I conducted a home assessment for a family recently, who had set their heat pump at 28 degrees C and were leaving all doors open to try and heat the whole house. In an uninsulated house, it wasn’t surprising that their monthly electricity bills were reaching $1,100!
There’s ongoing debate about whether a heat pump should be left on 24/7 to maximise efficiency. The answer really depends on what kind of home you live in.
Our Home Assessors at Sustainability Trust recommend that unless your home is fully insulated (including walls), with double glazing and is airtight with no draughts, it would be more beneficial to turn your heat pump on only when you need the heat.
Most NZ homes experience heat loss through walls, windows and gaps that would lead to wasted heat if the heat pump was left on all the time. So for most of us with heat pumps, it makes economical sense to use the heat pump regularly but not constantly. The timer on a heat pump is useful in allowing you to pre-set the time of operation, so the room can be made warm before you spend time in it.
To maximise your heat pump’s performance and to avoid high power bills from your heat pump, here’s a few simple guidelines to follow:
If you are considering installing a heat pump, look for an energystar rating – EECA advises that this could save you $150/year over a non energystar model.
On the remote console, set the thermostat to a healthy temperature of 18-20’c (22’c for children, elderly, sick or vulnerable occupants). This is the indoor air temperature recommended by the World Health Organisation.
On the remote console, set the mode to: HEAT (or sun) and the fan to: AUTO (or high). A useful factsheet illustrating how to do this can be found online at the Eco Design Advisor Service.
To minimise heat loss whilst using a heat pump, make sure draughts have been excluded in windows and under doors. Using lined, floor length drapes will make a big difference to heat retention and help keep power costs down.
Clean heat pump filters regularly (monthly is recommended) – do not vacuum filters as this can damage the fine wires of the filter, affecting performance. Carefully brush out dust with a small household brush.
If you want to know what heat pump for your living areas and where to position them then get us in for a free heating assessment.
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