Because they move heat instead of generating it, heat pumps are already a more energy efficient way to heat and cool your house when compared to other systems. However, this does not mean that there aren’t ways to make your heat pump’s operation even more efficient.
From choosing the right heat pump for your home to finding smarter ways to use your thermostat, here are some of the most effective methods to ensure that your heat pump is being used as efficiently as possible.
Get the Right Heat Pump for Your Home
If you are in the market for a new heating and air conditioning system, then a heat pump is definitely the way to go. However, it is essential that you choose a heat pump that is properly sized for your home.
That’s because a heat pump that is too powerful will waste money and energy while an undersized unit won’t provide you with adequate heating or cooling.
HVAC experts figure out exactly how large your heat pump should be by using a Manual J calculation, which takes into account factors such as:
- Square footage of your home
- Your climate zone
- The presence of ductwork
- Number of windows
- How much shade or sunlight reaches your home
- The quality and amount of insulation in your home
These and other factors all may affect the capacity of the heat pump you buy. Because this is a complicated calculation, it makes sense to rely on a professional to help.
Keep Checking the Filters
This is such an easy thing to do, and yet many homeowners seem to overlook it. Simply checking the system air filters each month is a huge boost to your heat pump’s efficiency. If you notice dust and debris clogging these filters, then it is time to clean or replace them. This may be especially critical in homes with pets that shed.
Clean the Outdoor Coils
Here is another easy maintenance project that frequently gets neglected. All you need is a common garden hose to clean off the coils. While taking care of this task, ensure that airflow around the outdoor portion of the heat pump is not obstructed by shrubs or mulch. Do not place garbage cans too close to the outdoor unit, and make certain that snow isn’t building up around it in the winter.
Try to clean the coils on a warm day. Typically, this means in the spring and especially in the fall as you get your home ready for winter. In fact, fall is the perfect time to schedule an annual service visit to ensure that everything is in good functioning order before the heating season begins.
Don’t Make Wild Changes to Thermostat Settings
It can be tempting, especially in the cold winter months, to make sizable temperature setting adjustments on your thermostat. However, cranking up the heat only to have to turn it severely down is doing a disservice to your heat pump. When you make a sudden adjustment upward, the backup heater may be triggered, and this is definitely not energy efficient.
Keep in mind that although the air that is coming out of the vents may feel somewhat cool, it actually is the right temperature for efficient heating of the house. The heat pump does not operate like a gas furnace, which pours out hot air for a few minutes and then shuts down. Heat pumps run longer, but are far more cost-effective and efficient.
Think Twice Before Setting the Temperature Back at Night
If you have a heat pump with a two-stage thermostat, there likely is no need to turn down the temperature at night. The problem with doing this is turning the heat back up in the morning, which may start operation of the backup heater. Any savings you gained from turning the temperature down overnight will quickly be erased by use of the backup heater.
If you do decide to turn down the temperature at night, then remember to slowly raise the temperature the following morning to prevent the backup heater from being triggered.
Consider Avoiding “Automatic” Mode
It might sound really convenient to just switch your thermostat to “automatic” mode and forget about it, but this usually is less efficient that using either the heat setting in the winter or the cool setting in the summer. That’s because the automatic mode will cause your heat pump to switch between cooling and heating based on the temperature inside your home. This means that your heat pump may start cooling your home on a sunny afternoon in the winter or crank up the heat on a cooler summer night.
Set It and Forget It
The most efficient way that you can operate your heat pump is to set the thermostat and forget it. That means turning on the system to heat in the winter at a comfortable temperature and turning on the system to cool in the summer at a comfortable temperature.
This is because the heat pump system is designed to maintain the temperature at a fixed point. It works gradually but efficiently, and if you constantly ratchet the temperature up or down, the system will have to work overtime.
Special Tips for Users of Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pumps
If you have this type of heat pump, then it is essential that you keep the air vanes open so that air may freely flow throughout the unit. Point the vanes downward in the winter when you are heating your home, and then point them upward in the summer to better circulate the cooler air.
It also is helpful to maximize the heating zone with this type of system. That means setting the thermostat on the main unit just a bit higher to distribute the heat throughout the home more evenly. When you are trying to cool or heat multiple rooms, keep the doors open to allow better air circulation. However, you may prefer to keep the doors closed if you want to focus on the heat pump’s efforts on just one or two rooms.
Consider Adding Insulation
Many homes do not have adequate insulation. The result is that heat is lost in the winter and cool air escapes in the summer. If it is at all feasible, consider having more insulation added to your home. This can make a significant difference in the performance and efficiency of your heat pump.
Invest in a Smart Thermostat
Have you ever wished that you had the ability to control your home’s heating and cooling from anywhere in the world? When you choose a smart thermostat, you can!
Smart thermostats feature a Wi-Fi connection that enables you to control your heat pump from the office or while you’re on vacation in Hawaii. Accordingly, if you forget to make an adjustment before leaving home, you have the option to do so while you are on the go. You can even quickly and easily turn the heat pump off for the entire time you’re gone, then remotely turn it back on so that your home is comfortable and waiting for your return.
Trust Delaware Heating and Air
It is amazing how many seemingly small factors can affect the efficiency of your heat pump. Here are just a few:
- The placement of the outdoor unit
- The placement of the indoor unit
- How much insulation your home has
- The Energy Star rating of the unit you choose
- The size of the heat pump
Most homeowners will only purchase one or two heating and cooling systems in their lifetimes. This can make it really hard to know what capacity to choose or what type of heat pump makes the most sense for their home.
That is where the experts at Delaware Heating and Air come in. We install and maintain heat pumps and other HVAC systems on a daily basis. This means that we’ve seen it all, and we can answer all of your questions.
If you are interested in having a new heat pump installed or want to maximize the efficiency of your current unit, call Delaware Heating and Air today at (302) 738-4669.