What is a heat pump and how does it work?

What is a heat pump?

Simply put, a heat pump provides heating to your home in the winter and cooling in the summer. Importantly, heat pumps do this in the most efficient and cost effective way. They also has dehumidifying benefits which remove moisture from the room to keep it dry and warm. When the heat pump is working in cooling mode, the room will automatically dehumidify. In heating mode, there is no need for the heat pump to dehumidify. The warm air that circulates around the room removes the moisture.

Why is a heat pump such an efficient heating system?

Heat pumps don’t create heat but they move available heat from one place to another.  This is why heat pumps are one of the most efficient and cleanest forms of heating available in New Zealand. Buying a heat pump is an investment and although your initial purchase is more substantial than a heater, you will find the benefits are worth it. The cost savings, clean air and warmth that it adds to your family’s comfort are substantial and will make a big difference to your home.

“Heat pumps are one of the cheapest heating options to run once they’re installed”.   Consumer Magazine Winter Survival Guide 2012

Is it advisable to run my heat pump for 24 hours a day?

It’s not necessary to run your heat pump for 24 hours a day. Doing this will only increase your power bill and this is not good practical use of your heat pump. When you are at home during the day, turn it on, and when you are away, you turn it off – it’s common sense.

If you have a 3.5kW heat pump running for approximately six hours per day, it will add about $40.50 a month to your power bill. Comparing this to running a small bar heater with a similar wattage for the same time, it would cost you a lot more. A bar heater would add an extra $141.75 to your monthly power bill.  A big difference!

Can I set up my heat pump to turn on when I am away from home?

Yes… and this is a big advantage with a heat pump. Most heat pumps have a 24 hour timer to program your daily settings. When you are away from your home and want that lovely warm house to come home to, you can simply program what time you want the heat turned on and your heat pump will do the rest.

Does a room heat faster if the heat pump is turned up to 28°C?

Turning your heat pump up to 28°C will not warm the room any faster. The only thing your heat pump will be doing in trying to reach this unrealistic temperature is use more energy.  A good comfortable temperature during the winter months of around 18-22°C. Using these settings will make sure your heat pump is set for optimum efficiency and maintain a good cosy warmth. You can use the timer to set this up so when you arrive home the house is warm.

Another advantage of your heat pump is the fan that distributes the warm air around your room. This keeps an even temperature no matter where in the room you are. Compare this to other forms of heating where you have to sit over the appliance or right next to the fire place to keep warm. There is no comparison!

How is a heat pump beneficial to my family’s health?

If you have anyone in your family who suffers from asthma or allergies, you are at a higher risk of illness if your home is damp and cold. We all know the health benefits and pleasure of stepping into a warm dry home.  If your living conditions fall below 16°C it can have a detrimental effect on your health. This is especially true if you are in the ‘at risk’ category like the elderly or young children with respiratory illnesses. This is one of the main reasons why many people choose to have a heat pump installed as they know the ventilation and clean air from their appliance is vital to their health.

Another benefit is the safety aspect especially with young children in the home;  no hot surfaces or open flames, no nasty fumes from gas heaters and the improved air quality from built-in air filtration system.  The three key elements for a healthy living environment are heating, ventilation and insulation.

What other advantages does a heat pump offer?

Another benefit of a heat pump is the dehumidifying effect it has on your home. When the heat pump is operating in cooling mode the room will automatically be dehumidified as a function of the heat pump. When the heat pump operates in heating mode it does not need to dehumidify. This is because the warm air that is circulated around your home gently removes any moisture in the room.

During the colder months of winter you can use “dry mode” once your room has been heated. Using this function will keep the room within approximately 2°C of your desired room temperature.  This means you will enjoya warm dry home knowing you are in a healthy and efficient environment.

What is the right size heat pump for my home or office?

Every home, office and room is different, as are the needs of the people in them. To get the right heat pump for your needs it’s important to discuss your requirements with the professionals who will guide you in making the right decision.

Is a heat pump noisy and will it affect the aesthetics of my room?

Most of us are house proud and take the time to make our home comfortable and pleasant to live in. When we are considering a heat pump it is important to think about the overall impact it will have in the room.  Positioning and noise are both factors to consider.  When choosing a heat pump think about complementing your existing surroundings with a unit that is quiet and best suits the look of your home. There’s a lot of choice available that includes a high wall mounted units. High wall mounted heat pumps are a popular and unobtrusive design and you don’t have to worry about spoiling the look of your home as the solution is to enhance rather than disrupt your existing décor.

Will my heat pump still be efficient if my home doesn’t have insulation?

Many older homes have minimum insulation, if any, and in this situation you will lose indoor heat quicker. A solution to this is available in the form of a bigger heat pump to compensate. If you live in a modern home with good insulation the requirements will be quite different. In some places in New Zealand where there are sub-zero temperatures the requirements are different again. Allowing for a larger capacity output with a high performance heat pump is key in this situation. The Mitsubishi Electric HyperCore® Series is designed to handle extreme temperatures. It is strongly recommended to arrange a consultation with a heat pump professional to discuss your individual requirements.

Why we have chosen to use Mitsubishi heat pumps over other brands?

We recommend Mitsubishi Electric heat pumps as they produce New Zealand’s quietest heat pump – known as the whisper quiet ones. Not only are they designed for superior heating and quietness but for those with even the most discerning style. To back this they offer a range of sizes and colours and with elegant clean lines. The Designer Series is available in glossy black, matte silver or classic white. Most models also feature a 7 day timer allowing you the luxury to set and forget.