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About Heat Pumps
Why choose a heat pump
Heat pumps are widely regarded as a cost-efficient way to heat your house. See the chart below from Energy Wise which summarises the running costs of different heating systems.
How heat pumps work
Heat pumps are efficient as they simply shift heat from one area to another, rather than creating heat. A heat pump is essentially a transporter of heat, hence the name ‘heat’ ‘pump’. In winter it will transfer heat from outside your house to inside and the reverse in summer moving heat out of your home. Surprisingly when it is cold outside, there is heat energy present that a heat pump can transfer.
The cost to operate a heat pump is the electricity required to power the ‘pump’ or compressor. This is a much lower and cheaper energy requirement compared to other heating sources. For example a regular heater provides 1kW of heating for every 1kW of electricity that is used. With heat pumps you can get 2-4kW of heating for every 1kW of electricity used.
Types of heat pumps
In New Zealand there are three main types of heat pumps used within residential properties: high wall heat pumps, floor console heat pumps, ducted heat pumps
This is the most common type of heat pump used in New Zealand. They are essentially a single indoor unit connected directly to an outdoor unit.
These units are designed to be used for a single room, whether that is a bedroom, lounge or office. They are installed high on the wall close to the ceiling.
These units are controlled by infrared remote controllers and include a range of functionality from mode (cooling to heating), fan speed, fan direction, timers and more.
There are many options on the market making this type the most cost-efficient heat pump to purchase. They are also easy to install, also contributing to a lower cost.
As they are mounted on the wall, you don’t have to loose precious space on your room floor!
Although some heat may flow into other rooms, this is not proven to be very effective and separate rooms will often require their own heating system.
The Floor Console heat pumps are very similar to Wall Mounted, except for the obvious difference of the unit sitting on the floor. Although the heat is being pushed out from the floor (rather than ceiling), it provides a heating experience comparable to the wall models.
The functionality of both floor and wall are essentially the same.
You may want to consider a Floor Console where you don’t have a suitable wall, such as open plan spaces and glass walls.
If you have access under your house, the floor models can allow you more flexibility about where you want to position the unit.
Floor Consoles are often used to replace gas fire or fireplaces, hence reducing the need to re-plaster and paint.
Floor Consoles tend to be more expensive than wall models.
Ducted heat pumps are ideal when you are trying to heat/cool multiple rooms. These systems are also known as ‘central heating’.
There are three key components: 1. The outdoor unit, just like wall mounted and floor models 2. The indoor unit, which typically sites in your ceiling cavity or space under the house and 3. Vents or outlets in rooms which are connected to the indoor unit via ducts.
As with other types of heat pumps, there is range of functionality including automatic on/off when certain times or temperatures are reached, temperature control, and many have remote access via smartphone apps. These units all have a fixed wall mounted controller.
A significant advantage of this type of heat pump is the discreetness of it. All that can be seen are the vents and these can be designed to match the style of your house.
Ducted Heat pumps are great when you want to heat an entire house, and not have to close off doors to contain heat.
A downside is that it is typically expensive to allow for zones where different rooms can have independent temperature controls. This means that overnight if the heat pump is used you will be heating areas other than bedrooms, which may not require heating.
How to choose a Heat Pump system for you?
As well as the three general types of Heat Pumps as explained above, there are a number of things that will influence your decision. These can include:
- Your budget – Wall Mounted tends to be the cheapest and Ducted the most expensive.
- The areas you want to heat – obviously different types of heat pumps are better suited to different needs.
- Your house – one or two stories, ceiling or under floor cavity space, your ceiling height, suitable locations for the outdoor unit.
- Where you live – different parts of the country experiences more extremes of temperatures, which will influence specific models that will suit you.
- The look and feel of the Heat Pump and how it complements your property.
Then of course there are many brands of Heat Pumps on the market:
- and more
One way to compare different brands and models is to use the Energy Rating Label.
Heat pumps should all have an Energy Rating Label. It is quite easy to read these – the more stars, the more energy efficient the model is. Red stars indicate heating efficiency and blue stars cooling efficiency. Be sure to compare similar capacities of heat pumps when using Energy Rating Labels.
This is one of the most important things to consider – the installation will directly impact how your unit performs today and into the future.
Inquire with several companies to gain confidence in the one you finally decide to go with. We can help you do this by completing the form above.