Heat Pumps have become very popular over the last few years because they provide cheap, clean heat and ‘touch of a button’ convenience. They are widely recommended by anyone that has one and are actively promoted by government and energy saving bodies.
Heat Pumps are, however, a significant investment for most people and a permanent fixture to a property so its important to make the right choice (you can’t send it back).
All manufacturers claim to have the best, quietest and most energy efficient Heat Pumps. Add to that they are constantly updating models and improving specifications. Finding out which one is best for you is not so straightforward.
It is important to get the right Heat Pump for your needs. Each property is unique and has individual features that greatly affect the airflow around a space as well as the heat loss. These include: property location, typical ambient air temperatures and humidity levels, aspect to the sun, insulation in ceilings and walls, window surface area, positioning of walls, etc.
So unfortunately, what is right for your friends and neighbours is not necessarily right for you.
Heat Pumps come in a variety of types: High walls, Floor consoles, Ceiling cassettes, Concealed, etc. all with different power outputs and airflow characteristics.
Heat Pumps must be sized correctly for the volume of air it needs to condition. Too small and the unit will be over working at full speed trying to achieve the desired temperature, never reaching its inverter state and therefore will cost more to run and wear out prematurely. Too big and the Heat Pump will short cycle, turning on and off repeatedly.
NB. Regardless of what you might get told, DO NOT buy a bigger heat pump in the hope it will do multiple rooms or the whole house. A Heat Pump constantly measures the temperature of the room it is in and will back off as it reaches the set temperature. It cannot know what the temperature is in the rooms down the hall so won’t try to heat them. If you want to heat multiple rooms, find out about Multi-Split Heat Pumps designed for the job.
All Heat Pumps come from overseas where they are designed predominantly for cooling. Not all Heat Pumps perform the same in the colder and often humid New Zealand climate. It is important to understand the performance capabilities of Heat Pumps in New Zealand and the impact of the Heat Pump defrost cycle.
Correct installation is CRITICAL for the correct energy efficient performance and long term life of a Heat Pump. Unfortunately there are no regulations covering Heat Pump installation and Heat Pumps are readily available at trade outlets. Do not assume because someone can supply a Heat Pump that they have the right equipment or are accredited installers.
Make sure the company you deal with is going to be around if something goes wrong. The manufacturer’s warranty is only valid for correctly installed Heat Pumps. If something goes wrong, you will have to contact them to put it right.. Even if you buy from a reputable retail outlet you will still have to find the original installer.
Getting the right Heat Pump for your home is a combination of accurate calculation of the space to be heated (or cooled), taking into account all property characteristics, plus an up to date knowledge of the performance specifications of all makes and models available.