Home Maintenance

How To Use Your Dunedin Heat Pump Efficiently


Many people are quick to turn their heat pump on when they feel that winter cold. However, this tends to cause sharp increases in power bills across the country. For a lot of homes using heat pumps in Dunedin, there are ways to use them more efficiently.  

Wrong Settings For Your Heat Pump

Temperature Control

If your heat pump is set too low, it won’t be able to efficiently heat your home. Conversely, if it’s set too high, your heat pump will use more energy than necessary to cool your home. In either case, you’re wasting money and energy.

Air Flow Directional Control

The second tip is a basic matter of physics: hot air rises. So to get the most out of your wall-mounted unit, you need to have the vents pointing down, towards the floor.

Auto and Heat Setting

Another common heat pump setting that is often seen, but is not recommended is not setting the mode to ‘heat’, the temperature set above 22C, and the fan setting not left on auto (where the unit operates most efficiently).

Moisture In The Air

Moisture is the next problem to be tackled. Wet air takes a lot more energy to dry out and heat.

Do you use your kitchen’s extractor fan?

Many people rarely use their range hood fan because it sounds like a jet plane taking off. Richard Popenhagen, an eco-design adviser for Nelson City Council, reveals “So many people tell me, ‘We don’t use it or only occasionally.’ When I ask why invariably the answer they give me is: ‘It’s too noisy.”

But cooking can add up to 3L of moisture inside your home, he says. “Although you’re making it in your kitchen, it equalises quickly throughout the home.”

If you don’t have a fan, just using pot lids can also significantly reduce moisture in the air.

Do you dry clothes inside the home?

If you have a heat pump, you know that it is important to keep it operating efficiently. One way to do this is to be careful about how you dry your clothes. Drying clothes inside can actually make your heat pump less efficient. Just one load can put 5 litres of water in the air.

The reason has to do with the way heat pumps work. They take the heat from the air outside and use it to heat the air inside. When you dry your clothes inside, the moisture from the clothes makes the air inside more humid. This means that the heat pump has to work harder to remove the moisture from the air, which makes it less efficient.

So, if you want to keep your heat pump operating efficiently, it is best to dry your clothes outside or in the garage. You can hang them on a clothesline or use a clothes rack. Not only will this save you money on your energy bill, but it will also help your heat pump last longer.

Is the bathroom ventilation adequate?

If your bathroom ventilation is inadequate, it can make your heat pump less efficient. This is because the heat pump will have to work harder to remove the moist air from your bathroom, and other rooms if it spreads, which can lead to higher energy bills. 

Inadequate ventilation can also cause mould and mildew to grow, which can damage your heat pump and make it less efficient.

Should we open windows to air out bedrooms?

“This is the other thing that a lot of people get wrong,” Popenhagen says. “We do need to ventilate our houses to bring air inside because (the outside air) is usually drier. But, you should do it in the warmest part of the day, just after lunch.”

I can manage that because I work from home. For people who are out most of the day, Popenhagen advises a quick flush out of 10 to 15 minutes, before they leave in the morning.

If you do not ventilate your home, the air inside will become stagnant and stale. This can lead to a build-up of dust, pollen and other airborne particles, which can trigger allergies or respiratory problems. In addition, a lack of ventilation can cause moisture to build up, which can lead to mould and mildew growth.