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Everything you need to know about heating your home with a heat pump

Donning an extra jumper while the wind whistles is no longer the Kiwi way. Here, we round up the pros and cons of choosing a heat pump for your home

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Everything you need to know about heating your home with a heat pump

Choosing a heating type might be one of the most important decisions you make for your home. There are a lot of variables involved with finding the best heating for your place – including climate, housing type and your budget – so it pays to do your research. We’ve rounded up some of the main pros and cons for heat pumps. But first…

Effective home heating starts and ends with insulation and a little money spent on insulation now will save you thousands on bills in the years to come. Check the required R values (the resistance of a material or building structure to transferring heat) for your climate zone and, if you can afford it, insulate above these minimum requirements.

Heat pumps

Currently a popular heating choice, heat pumps are best suited to larger rooms and living areas that require a steady level of comfort over several hours. Heat pumps use electricity to move and warm air, and are an energy-efficient heating option.

Pros

+ Produces a comfortable dry heat
+ Lower heating costs
+ Can cool the air in hot weather
+ Purifies the air
+ Adds value to your home

Cons

+ Can create cross-draughts
+ Loses efficiency the colder it gets
+ Can be bulky, especially the external unit

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Panasonic E21 heat pump and air conditioner, $2998, from Harvey Norman. Mitsubishi Electric Designer Series 4.0W heat pump and air conditioner, $2399, from Noel Leeming.

The purchase

When shopping for a heat pump, it’s most important to choose one that’s the right size and capacity for your space. Many installers offer online calculators, so grab a tape measure and get an idea of what you’re in the market for. However, unless you’re a confident home handyperson, you’ll still need a professional to advise you before the final installation.

The installation

When getting quotes from installers, make sure you ask questions and understand the whole process. Ask for quotes with itemised costs and a clear installation plan in layperson’s language. Ensure your installer follows EECA’s good practice guide and is accredited for the heat pumps they install. Make sure you understand the visual impact of your choice inside and out.

The latest technology

  • Wifi-controlled heat pumps can be turned on and off using an app.
  • Some systems use an outdoor unit to pump air to several rooms inside, or a central compressor that distributes hot air throughout the home.
  • Air-to-water systems can also heat your water.
  • Ground-source heat pumps use heat from the earth rather than from the air.
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Mitsubishi Electric HyperCore FH Series heat pump and air conditioner, $3799, from Noel Leeming. Daikin Cora heat pump and air conditioner, $3300, see daikin.co.nz for stockists.

The look

Floor-mounted heat pumps can heat a space faster but take up more room and are harder to ignore. Wall units are more discreet but slightly less efficient. Ducted heat pumps are the most discreet of all. Manufacturers are starting to release more options in terms of colour and finish.

Energy efficiency 

A heat pump must be well suited to your space, type of home and climate to run efficiently. If you make the right choice, your heat pump will run very efficiently and you’ll see the difference on your power bill, especially if your home is well insulated.

Tips

  • Vacuum the filter on your indoor heat pump unit every three months and regularly check the outdoor unit to ensure it hasn’t become blocked.
  • Don’t programme your heat pump to a high temperature in an effort to warm a room more quickly. Set the temperature you want (around 21-23°C is best) and let the technology do its job.

Words by: Sally Conor. Photography by: Prue Ruscoe/bauersyndication.com.au.

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