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Better Budget – All About Your Heat Pump

Heat pumps are great.  They are efficient and quick to work.  In fact, GenLess says that a heat pump is the most energy-efficient way of using electricity to heat your home.

However, a lot of people are wasting money by either incorrect installation or poor maintenance.

Give your heat pump a winter once-over

heat pump
Dirty filters block the air from going through and make the process less efficient

Ok, you’ve already got a heater installed.  When was the last time you looked at the filters?

The filters get rid of the majority of dust and pollen from the outside (most NZ heat pumps are single-split heat pumps; getting air from the outside).  This is obviously important but means that the filters can easily become clogged.  When this happens, the motors have to work harder to push the air through (or it simply doesn’t go through as much).

For most heat pumps, you should be able to easily access the filters.  If in doubt, google the exact make and model of your heat pump and add the term “pdf manual”.  This should find the manual which will walk you through the process of removing the filters.

heat pump
It shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes to clean the filters. You can now see the carpet behind the filters meaning the air will flow through nicely.

From there, a quick vacuum is enough to get the majority of the dirt from the filters.  You’ll see the change immediately.  Replace the filters back and restart your heat pump.  You should notice a 2-3 degree increase in heat from when the filters were clogged.

What are the most efficient heat pump settings?

Now that your filters are clean, it’s time to get the correct setting.  It’s generally agreed that a setting between 18 – 20 degrees is the best.  Any higher and your heater will be using too much energy to get the air that warm (particularly if it is very cold outside).

Focus the heat

Because the heat from a heat pump is so efficient and quick, there’s not much need to heat rooms that you aren’t in.  If you decide to move rooms, just open the door and the heat should flow through.  Heating a 30 or 40sqm room is much more efficient than heating a whole house!

What do I need to know when purchasing a heat pump?

An underpowered heater will not heat the entire house which will just lead to disappointment.  We’re aware of a few companies offering special deals on heat pumps but they tend to be the lower-powered units.  Seek out advice on the correct power requirements for your particular house.  As with all things, a little extra money can mean a significantly better experience.

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How much will the installation of a heat pump cost?

The best time to save yourself some money is during installation.  Correct placement of the heater is key to getting the air distributed and circulating throughout your house.  A reasonable price for installation is around the $1,000 mark (can be $300, either way, depending on difficulty) but is well worth the price you are paying.  The money you save for good installation over the lifetime of the appliance will more than cover the extra installation costs.

Summary

We realise that the outlay costs of a heat pump are high but the ongoing electricity savings are good for your wallet (and the environment).  Get the correct model for your house, get it positioned correctly, and check the filters every 2-3 months in winter (less often in summer).

For some great information on energy efficiency and conservation, check out Unity Home Group's blog here.

You can talk to our advisers if you need help with financing a heat pump for your home.

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