You've been using your heat pump wrong all this time

According to Energywise, more than a quarter of New Zealand households have a heat pump.
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According to Energywise, more than a quarter of New Zealand households have a heat pump.

As the months get colder and power bills get higher, many are asking: What is the most efficient way to heat your home?

According to Energywise technical expert Christian Hoerning, heat pumps are the best form of electric heating, and by using some simple tricks, you can cut down on power wastage in your home.

1. Use the timer

The first step to an efficient heat pump is learning how to use the timer feature, said Hoerning.

"Don't leave your heat pump on all day if you're not there. You can set the unit to turn on half an hour or so before you get home or before you get up in the morning."

Hoerning said using the timer also avoids the common mistake of cranking up the heat pump when coming home.

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2. Set it to the optimum temperature

Constant toggling of the heat pump thermostat is not ideal.

It is advisable to set the thermostat to a healthy temperature of around 18 degrees Celsius, says Hoerning.

3. Keep it clean

Clean the filters regularly to ensure your heat pump works efficiently.

4. Look for the blue stars

Hoerning says it's important to look for the blue energy star rating when buying a heat pump.

This mark identifies superior energy efficiency.

"Like all heaters, heat pumps can use a lot of energy so it pays to get an efficient model."

'INSTANT HEAT AT YOUR HANDS'

Sue Collier finds her heat pump works best by leaving it on a low temperature all day.
GEORGE HEARD/FAIRFAX NZ

Sue Collier finds her heat pump works best by leaving it on a low temperature all day.

According to Energywise, more than a quarter of New Zealand households have a heat pump.

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Sue and Barry Collier own a five-bedroom, double bungalow in Cambridge, and use a heat pump for warmth.

After years of hauling in firewood, the Colliers purchased a Hitachi 7-litre unit last winter.

Sue describes this decision as the best thing that has ever happened.

She said although the initial purchase of the heat pump was costly, her power bill is around $350 less than previous winters.

The Colliers previously used a coal range, and a range of gas, fan and oil-fin heaters for heating.

"I used to budget around $500 for heating from April through to August, but I'm finding I no longer need that."

Her strategy is to leave the heat pump running on a medium temperature of around 21°C constantly.

Sue said they looked at other heating systems, but the heat pump has no cords to trip over or cats hogging the warmth.

"I would have gone with the heat pump option long before, if I had realised just how much better it is.

"It's the best form of heating because it's clean, efficient, and as long as you have the remote in you hands you can have instant heat."

She says she doesn't count every single penny, but lives within her pension, and when she's tired, walking into a warm home makes it worth it.

Sue's final bit of advice to heat pump users is to shut doors to rooms that aren't in use, and curtains to help keep the heat in.

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