Historically, it seems as though homes in New Zealand were designed for practicality rather than comfort, reflecting the ‘she’ll be right’ attitude of many New Zealanders (putting on a cosy jumper isn’t always the most practical solution)! Little-to-no insulation, no central heating (or for some no heating or cooling source at all), and single paned windows are just some of the home features that many Kiwis grew up with, resulting in freezing winters and hot summers that often weren’t much more comfortable!
These days we understand the importance of a comfortable living environment far better, with the World Health Organisation advising a minimum indoor temperature of 18°C and up to 21°C if you have babies or elderly people in your home. With these recommendations, investing in a multipurpose solution such as a heat pump is a great option to maintain a more comfortable home environment.
With the click of a button, a heat pump will help warm your desired room in winter helping keep your family warmer and cosier. In addition, a heat pump has the added bonus of a cooling function, keeping you comfortable in what can become a hot and, in some areas, humid summer. Read on to learn more about the benefits of investing in a heat pump for your home.
Types of Heat Pumps
When choosing a heat pump, it’s important to buy one that will suit your home and family’s needs. You’ll find different options for heat pump sizing in HRV’s Panasonic range.
Single Split Systems
This system works with a single indoor unit that connects to a single outdoor unit. These systems are most often found in living areas or bedrooms and are fantastic at heating one area efficiently. A single split system heat pump is not a whole home solution, though some heat can transfer if doors are opened. Many people choose to install multiple single split systems throughout their homes to provide warming to different areas.
Using a series of ducts, this system pumps warm air (or cool in summer) throughout your entire house. A ducted system is connected to one unit, which is installed in your roof cavity. So you are able to control the overall temperature of the home and have the warm or cool air pumping into various areas of your home. This is great during winter to make sure your bedroom is toasty warm before bed!
In addition to these types of heat pump systems, you can also choose options that work best for your home. A High Wall heat pump means your unit will be mounted on the wall, saving floor space, a good option for smaller homes and those with children. Meanwhile your unit can also be a floor mounted system. The slim, elegant Panasonic range means you won’t be left with a bulky, obstructive intrusion to your space, and there’s also a child-lock function for young families.
For more information on Panasonic heat pumps, be sure to read over our comprehensive deep dive.
Benefits of Heat Pumps
A heat pump is a simple addition to your home and the benefits are numerous. Though it might look unassuming, heat pumps are powerful, while also staying energy efficient. Not to mention that quality heat pumps are designed to be incredibly quiet.
Heat pumps are also ideal solutions for large living areas in the home, such as lounge and living rooms. They’re also great for bedrooms as we stock smaller sizes, too. And, they not only heat efficiently but also perform at very low outside temperatures — down to -15°C! This means installing a heat pump NZ-wide is possible, great news for the cold south!
If you’re thinking of installing a heat pump in Auckland, Northland or other hot and humid locations, you should know a heat pump can create a cool space during summer using the reverse cycle for air conditioning.
And, if you’re out of the home but would prefer to return to a warm environment, you can simply program your heat pump to get started before you return. This is a great function for those out during the day at school and work, who want nothing more than a comfy refuge to return home to.
How Much Does A Heat Pump Cost?
Before committing to a heat pump, you’ll be curious about the costs of buying one and the running costs. Depending on where you live, HRV’s Panasonic heat pump range starts from $1,799 installed, with the final total depending on the system and unit type you choose to install. We’ll discuss this with you at a Free Home Assessment.
As with any electronic item, your ongoing heat pump costs will be dependant on factors including the system type, the settings you use and of course, how long you run your unit for. For wise heat pump use, Energywise recommends only using your heat pump while you need it and programming it to switch on shortly before you get home. In addition, only heat the space you’re using and remember to shut doors and curtains to retain the heat being generated.
Additionally, try to heat your home to around 18 – 21°C to keep your home feeling comfortable. We recommend setting a temperature with the fan speed set to ‘Auto’, but try to avoid setting the temperature to ‘Auto’. Setting the temperature to ‘Auto’ mode can cause the heat pump to fluctuate between heating and cooling to achieve the set temp, potentially wasting energy in the process. Having the fan mode set to ‘Auto’ is fine though. Keeping your heat pump filter clean on the indoor unit (as per the manufacturer’s instructions) will also help to maintain energy efficiency.
Understanding the Energy Rating Label
When looking for your heat pump it’s important to note the EECA star rating. The energy rating label is fairly straight forward – the more stars it has, the more energy efficient it is! Red stars show heating efficiency and blue stars are for cooling. A heat pump label also has two numbers that will help you understand more about its capabilities:
- Capacity output: the amount of heating or cooling (kW) you will get out of the heat pump (at its rated capacity, at 7˚C)
- Power input: The amount of power the heat pump uses (kW) to create the hot or cool air.
EECA Energy Rating Label:
*The above image is just an example and is sourced from EECA. The information displayed is not related to any HRV heat pumps.
Heat Pumps vs. Other Ways Of Heating A Home
A heat pump isn’t the only option for heating your home, though it does have the advantage of being the most energy efficient option with the lowest running cost, especially when used wisely. Other popular options include wood or pellet burners, flued gas heaters (using either natural or LPG gas), electric heaters, and unflued heaters.
Some heating alternatives have been deemed “unhealthy and inefficient” to run by the government – which is why a few of these won’t be accepted under the new Healthy Homes Guarantee Act. The heating standard states: “some heating devices are inefficient, unaffordable or unhealthy to run, such as unflued gas heaters, open fires, electric heaters (except heat pumps) with a heating capacity of greater than 2.4 kilowatts, and multiple electric heaters (except heat pumps) in one room. These particular heating devices will not be accepted in the heating standard…”
In comparison, if you’ve purchased an energy efficient heat pump that is correctly sized to your space and environment, you have very few things to bare in mind going forward. The exception is understanding that — much like an electric heater or batteryless pellet burner — a heat pump will not work during a power cut.
What Size Heat Pump Do I Need?
When buying your heat pump, you should take into account the area you ideally want it to heat. If you install a heat pump in a space that’s large, our professionals would likely specify a large system, as if you were to install a system that is too small for the area, it may not cover your heating needs as efficiently as you’d like. For heating multiple rooms, you should consider whether you install multiple single split systems, or instead opt for a ducted system that can make your whole home more comfy. HRV’s installers are happy to provide this sort of information and give their recommendations during a free home assessment.
Heat Pump Installation & Maintenance
After making your choice, it’s time to install your heat pump! As electrical work is done during the heat pump installation process, it’s best for this to be done by fully qualified professionals. Not to mention that proper heat pump installation is key for the unit running as efficiently as possible – so it’s a smart choice for the long-term performance of the system and your wallet. It’s our recommendation you opt for a technician who’s qualified as a registered electrician.
Following heat pump installation there are a few simple things you can do to keep it running smoothly:
- Indoor unit: Check the air filters and remove any dust with a vacuum, you’ll also need to clean filters as needed. And, before you use your heat pump for cooling, flush the indoor condensate pan and drain it.
- Outdoor unit: Keep the unit free of snow, ice and any rubbish, and make sure the outdoor coils are kept clean. Be sure shrubs or plants are kept away from all sides to allow for proper airflow.
- General upkeep: Have your heat pump checked and serviced by a professional. We can take care of this for you.
Interested in learning more about heat pump options for your home? Book in for a free assessment now and chat to our knowledgeable professionals.