Hi Heat pumps are great. They are efficient and quick to work. In fact, Energywise 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
Dirty heat pump filters block the air from going through and make the process less efficient
Ok, you’ve already got a heat pump 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.
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.
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!
Purchasing a heat pump
An under-powered heat pump 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.
Installation of heat pump
The best time to save yourself some money with a heat pump is at the installation. Correct placement of a heat pump 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.
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).
Purchasing your first home can be confusing. The key to being ready to buy is to be organised. Here are 3 things that first home buyers can do today to get ready to apply for a mortgage.
Order their Credit Report
Ordering your own credit report is free. You can a nice and simple indication from Credit Simple or you can get the whole report (I recommend this) from Equifax. This second option can take a couple of weeks (my latest one turned up in 4 days though). This will allow you to see exactly what the bank is going to see about your history. If anything isn’t correct, now is the time to address that.
Tidy up your spending
Look through your last 3 months of bank statements. Are you spending more than you earn or going beyond the limit of your bank account? This is called going into “unarranged overdraft”. To a bank, these 2 words send up a big red flag. Once is usually ok, but more than that and getting a mortgage is going to be difficult.
You can limit how often this happens by setting up a spending account with automatic payments going out. You’ll know exactly how much is going to be spent and how much is in the account.
Key point: don’t have an eftpos account attached to this expenses account. You’ll end up over spending and going into overdraft again.
You can download a copy of The Mortgage Lab’s Excel Budgeting Spreadsheet here.
Get proof of your income
The bank is going to want to see your income and it won’t usually be enough to show them the money going into your bank account. Banks like to see payslips because they show how your income is made up (ie; is it a base salary or commission). The bank will usually want to see the most recent 3 payslips so if your HR department is a little relaxed in this area, get them working on it now.
If you are self-employed, you will need to have this year’s most recent Financial Statements (between October and March). You can see our blog on when you need to update your Accounts. Since Accountants are often busy, these can sometimes take a while to source so talk to your Accountant early.
If you’re ready to apply for a mortgage, it’s also time to look at your Life and Health insurance. You’re going to be signing a contract for a large amount of money and need to make sure you can pay for it. Find an insurance adviser who you like and feel is looking after your best interests. We believe the best advisers only advise on insurance which is why we don’t offer it in our company. They should be comparing several different products and choosing the one that suits you the most.
You can start getting ready to buy today by:
- ordering and checking your Credit Report
- tidying up your spending habits and making sure you are not going into unarranged overdraft
- getting 3 of your most recent payslips or your latest set of business financials
- finding a good insurance adviser and talking to them about adequate cover
We all enjoy saving a bit of money, especially if you’re looking to buy your first home or if you’ve just got your first mortgage.
There are all sorts of convoluted ways to save money. Some of them are easy (eg; ditch the expensive TV subscription and get yourself Netflix, Lightbox or Neon) and some of them are disproportionately hard (eg; setting up a grey water system to water your plants to save on Water Rates).
My initial budgeting suggestion for new “budgeters” is, pick the low-hanging fruit first. And the easiest of all is to find what you’re paying too much for and find a place that sells it for less. Groceries are a good example of this. The price between supermarkets is astronomical for essentially the same product. Petrol is another.
The Great Gaspy
This is where Gaspy comes in. Whenever you open Gaspy, it will find you the cheapest fuel nearby. And the range in prices is amazing! For Diesel, my local price ranged from $0.99 – $1.17 per litre. That’s an 18% difference. Or to put it another way, if I normally spent $100 per week on fuel, I could save $936 per year by knowing the cheaper petrol stations around.
Now it’s not worth driving 30 minutes to save yourself $18 (or maybe it is!) but if you get in the habit of opening up the app when you’re below half a tank, then you are sure to pass a cheap spot sooner or later.
And as an added extra, the app summaries where the cheapest and most expensive areas are in NZ and it’s not where I would have expected! You can find the link to the pdf here or you can generate the list yourself on the app.
If you haven’t tried Gaspy yet, give it a go and let us know how you find it.