If you’ve just moved into a home with a heat pump, congratulations! You’re now one of the thousands of kiwis who warm their homes with these simple to use and efficient units. However, if you’ve never used one before you might be in need of some heat pump advice in order to get the most out of it.
If you’re used to having electric heaters or fireplaces as your primary mode of heating, you might be surprised to learn that heat pumps are actually one of the most energy-efficient electric heating sources. (If you don’t believe us, check out this article on heat pumps vs plug-in heaters). But, that doesn’t mean they can’t be used inefficiently as well. To help you out with your home’s heat pump, we’ve put together a few tips to inform you about using them efficiently while still keeping your family toasty over the winter months.
How Do Heat Pumps Work?
If you’ve never used a heat pump before you’re probably curious to learn about how they actually heat your home and why they can do it so efficiently. So, how does a heat pump work? Basically, it takes warmth from outside (yes, even in winter there’s heat energy to be found outside!) and transfers it indoors via the internal unit.
This cycle can also be reversed with your unit’s cooling setting and means the warm indoor air will be extracted and removed from your home, cooling it down.
Types of Heat Pumps from HRV
Though they all heat and cool the same way, there are a few different types of heat pumps that can be installed in homes depending on how many rooms are being heated and how visible the units are.
High-Wall Heat Pump
These systems are incredibly popular in New Zealand homes and they work as single room heat pumps – often heating the living room or other commonly used areas. A high-wall heat pump system has two units, one inside and one outside. As the name suggests, the inside unit is mounted on a wall in your chosen room, close to the ceiling. It’s then connected to the outside unit, which sits on the ground. HRV’s single-room heat pumps are always carefully chosen to make sure that they will efficiently heat the room they’re installed in, otherwise there’s a risk that the heat pump may not be big enough for the area it’s trying to heat.
Multi-Split Heat Pump
A home with a multi-split heat pump will have multiple indoor units connected to a single outdoor one. This allows more rooms to be heated and is great when you want to make sure living areas and bedrooms are all as comfortable as possible. Because there’s only one outdoor unit, you don’t have to accommodate multiple ones around the exterior of your home, which ultimately is a much nicer look.
Ducted Heat Pumps
In homes heated by ducted heat pumps you’ll notice that instead of the mounted indoor units, the room is heated via a duct in the ceiling. And, rather than connecting these ceiling ducts to an outdoor unit, the system is installed in the roof space. Ducted heat pump systems keep everything hidden away and are controlled by a touchpad. They still heat and cool just like the other systems but aren’t as obvious in your home.
Ultimately, the type of heat pump you choose will depend on your home’s layout, which rooms you want heating in and aesthetic preferences. This is exactly what our free home assessment is designed to do. We’ll chat through your options and make sure you know which one will be the best option for your home.
HRV’s 8 Top Heat Pump Tips
We want you to get the most out of your home’s heat pump and to make sure that happens there are a few pieces of heat pump advice you should follow.
1) Clean your filters regularly
One of the best things about heating your home with these systems is how low maintenance they are. Forget about ordering, chopping and storing firewood, with a heat pump you can just switch it on and enjoy its warmth! However, that doesn’t mean they don’t need a little TLC to keep them in tip-top condition and keeping your unit’s filters clean will do just that.
To clean the filters, check your system’s manual (you can find it online if you don’t have a physical copy) for instructions on how best to access them. You should make sure your unit is totally switched off before you remove them, clean the filters with a vacuum or water (remember to dry them thoroughly!), reinstall them and switch your system back on. You should clean your filters once or twice a year to keep your heat pump running well.
2) Only heat the space you’re using
Rather than trying to heat your entire home, just heat the rooms that are most likely to be occupied. Your living room is probably the biggest priority and once this is warm you can start heating the bedrooms. Make sure that unused rooms like spare bedrooms, studies, bathrooms and laundries are closed off as there’s no point in heating these.
3) Turn off your heat pump when it’s not in use
Much like only heating areas with people in them, to get into the swing of using your heat pump efficiently, make sure it’s only turned on when people are around to enjoy it. If your family has a regular routine then making use of the timer setting on your heat pump is a great idea to be sure it’s on when needed and off when it isn’t.
Something a lot of our customers enjoy doing is setting the heat pump’s timer to warm the house before getting up in the morning and make sure it’s set to turn off when you leave for school and work. Then, have it set to start heating your home just before you return in the evenings. That way you don’t come back to a freezing home and you don’t risk an unnecessarily high electricity bill either.
4) Close doors and curtains
Heat pumps work really quickly to warm up your space – that’s a massive part of their appeal. But you can make your heat pump’s job easier by cutting down any draughts and breezes that might be slowing down the warming process.
While the heat pump is turned on, close off any open doors and make sure that all the curtains are closed. Not only will doing this help retain the heat but it will also help the room warm up faster in the first place.
5) Don’t set the thermostat too high
We know how tempting it can be to crank up your heat pump to max and bask in the warmth, but this isn’t a very efficient practice. On the flip side, you still want (and need) your home to be at a healthy temperature to ensure your comfort and your home’s health. Try setting your heat pump thermostat somewhere between 18-21ºC, this is the range recommended by the World Health Organisation for indoor temperature. You’ll still be warm and cosy and your heat pump will be operating more efficiently, win-win!
6) Avoid Using “Auto” Mode
Along with setting the temperature, another way of using a heat pump efficiently is by avoiding the Auto mode and sticking with the Heating mode. When it’s in Auto mode your heat pump will spend its energy trying to maintain a set temperature and will switch between heating and cooling to try and do so. With all of these changes the unit is working more than it needs to, which is generally an inefficient way to heat your home.
7) Warm air may take a few minutes
Sometimes in extreme conditions it could take a little longer for your heat pump to get started. Although heat pumps like those in HRV’s range are designed to work in temperatures down to -15ºC, when it’s very cold you might notice the unit stops heating or blows out cold air. Don’t worry! This is perfectly normal when the outdoor unit is defrosting, which might take a few minutes. After the outdoor unit has warmed up your heat pump will be back to warming your home as normal.
8) In the warmer months, use it as an air con
Have you been thinking of your heat pump as more of a winter appliance? Think again! These little beauties can also be lifesavers in the summer as well. By switching your unit onto cooling mode, your heat pump removes warm air from inside your home and deposits it outside, leaving the room cooler.
If you use your heat pump as an air conditioner you can help its efficiency by first opening doors and windows to create cross-breeze and cool the room down. After the room has cooled down a little, close the doors and windows and turn the air conditioning on. Then, sit back and enjoy the sweet reprieve from the sticky summer weather.
We have some more tips in our article on the features of your heat pump. Give it a read and get in touch with the team if you have any further questions!
If your home is yet to experience the benefits of a heat pump system, get in contact today and book a free home assessment! Our friendly HRV professionals will give you all the information you need to make an informed choice for your house.