Hutt at Heart
Photo of heat pump

Eco Design Tips: Common questions about heat pumps

Is a heat-pump the most efficient form of heating?

Are heat-pumps expensive?

For the first the answer is a definitive yes, as far as converting energy to heat goes a heat-pump is the most efficient form of heating.

For the second, it is sometimes commented that heat-pumps are expensive to use. If they are it is because they might not be operated correctly. As heat-pumps become more popular the myth weakens, but to some degree is still alive.

There are a few reasons as to why a heat-pump could give a large power bill, but most of them are around either how it is installed or how it is operated.

If it is undersized, poorly installed, having a fault such as incorrect refrigerant pressure or malfunctioning controller it will not perform effectively.

It might perform poorly if not well matched to architecture, a hi-wall heat-pump installed high in a house with a high ceiling stud for example, or installed in uninsulated and/or draughty house having to combat excessive heat-loss. They shouldn’t be matched with a heat-transfer unit. Also the filters need to be cleaned regularly, this affects both the efficiency and final performance.

With a heat-pump don’t expect the same heating result as wood burner. A heat-pump conditions the air rather than blasting out large quantities of heat. Adding air into the room that is warmer than the room by degrees rather than by tens of degrees

Using a heat-pump incorrectly can reduce their efficiency. Familiarise yourself with the controls. If heating quickly increase the fan speed rather than temperature. Running a heat-pump at higher temperature will lower the efficiency.

There are also two options of how to operate them, to run non-stop or to use it like a heater. They can be very cheap to operate if operated non-stop, and the warmth tends to get around better. It is counter-intuitive but true. Try it over a meter reading period.

As of 1 July a grant has been available for a subsidy towards home heating, including heat-pumps. Follow this link to the EECA Warmer Kiwi Homes tool to see if you are eligible.

https://www.energywise.govt.nz/tools/warmer-kiwi-homes-tool/

Hutt City Council offers a free home assessment service by our in-house Eco Design Advisor.

For a full house assessment and advice,

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