Mainers have installed more than 100,000 heat pumps because they are the most efficient way to heat and cool. If you’ve made the investment, or are considering it, here are some tips on how you can save the most with your heat pump.
Use your heat pumps all winter.
High-performance heat pumps are the most efficient heating system, even on the coldest winter day. If you have both heat pumps and a boiler or furnace, your heat pumps are the more energy-efficient choice.
Set it and forget it.
Heat pumps operate most efficiently when holding a steady temperature. Turning heat pumps down when you’re away or asleep may actually use more energy than leaving them on. The reason is that they have to work harder to come back to the desired temperature than they do to maintain it. It’s best to set them at a comfortable temperature and forget it. Adjusting the temperature for short periods of time, such as overnight, will not save money with heat pumps.
Set temperature for comfort.
Many heat pump indoor units are mounted high on the wall. Because heat rises and heat pumps measure temperature at the indoor units, you may find you need to set your heat pump at a higher temperature than with a traditional wall thermostat setting to feel comfortable. This may be different for heat pumps with floor units or wall-mounted thermostats.
Avoid “Auto” mode.
In “Auto” mode, heat pumps maintain a constant temperature by alternating between the “Cool” and “Heat” modes. To avoid accidentally air conditioning on a mid-winter sunny day or perhaps when a wood stove is running, use “Heat” mode, not “Auto.” Likewise, to avoid accidentally heating on a cool summer night, use “Cool,” “Dry,” or “Fan” mode, not “Auto.”
Optimize fan speed.
Start with the fan speed set to “auto.” If that doesn’t spread the heated or cooled air far enough, select the fixed speed that works best for you
Optimize air flow direction.
It’s easy to redirect airflow on a heat pump. To maximize reach, air should be directed toward the open space that is the farthest away from the indoor unit, and away from any obstructions. You may need to experiment to see what’s most comfortable for you.
Clean your dust filters.
Heat pumps work best when dust filters are clean. Vacuum or rinse the dust filters whenever they become visibly dirty or when the indicator light comes on. The frequency of cleaning can range from weeks to months depending on use and dust volume. For details on how to take the filters out, consult your user manual.
Keep your outdoor units clear.
Keep shrubs away from outdoor units and remove leaves that may become stuck in them, being careful not to bend the fins. Clear snow drifts away from outdoor units but don’t worry about snow and ice accumulating on them. Heat pumps automatically defrost.
Have your heat pump professionally cleaned.
To ensure peak performance, follow manufacturers’ recommendations for professional cleaning in addition to regular dust filter cleaning.
Match the summer mode to your needs.
There are three heat pump modes for summer. “Fan” uses the least energy and may suffice when you need a little relief, but it will not cool the room so be sure to turn it off when you leave. When it’s warm and muggy, “Dry” mode can reduce the humidity and make the room feel more comfortable. “Cool” mode is the best choice for lowering the temperature and may suit the hottest days.
As you can see in the tips above, we recommend using heat pumps differently than combustion heating systems. Following these tips will help you maximize your savings and comfort.