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  • Writer's pictureThe ATL Team

8 things to consider when buying a heat pump

Updated: Mar 25, 2021

The purchase of a heat pump can be a daunting task. With so many brands, models and features to choose from, picking the right unit isn't always easy.

So, what should you consider?

You've decided a heat pump is the way to go, but you don't know where to start.

Getting the right sized heat pump is one of the most important factors when purchasing your unit.

Size refers to the heat pumps heating and cooling output which is measured in kW. Having the correct measurements for the space you are looking to heat or cool is vital in ensuring you have the most efficient sized unit for your needs.

Too small, your unit will struggle to bring the space up to temperature which will cost you.

Too large and the unit will emit too much heat, too quickly, which will waste power and shorten the life of your heat pump.

A heat pump installed in Tekapo, and a heat pump installed in Auckland deal with dramatically different climates.

Tekapo is often below freezing in winter, which means the unit will need to operate to its full capacity well below zero degrees. Many heat pumps lose heat delivery capability, the colder it gets outside.

A defrost cycle can also be a pet peeve for those with a heat pump. A heat pump will go into defrost mode every so often, and this becomes more frequent as the outside temperature drops even lower.

In some cheaper units, the fan will keep running at low fan speed during its defrost cycle, blowing cool air into the space you're trying to heat.

Conversely, a heat pump installed in Auckland may have been installed with the main purpose of cooling, which wouldn't require the same features of a heat pump specifically designed for heating.

You may have no, a little, or a lot of insulation in your home. So, how does this affect which heat pump you should buy?

A fully insulated home holds heat better than a home that only has insulation in the ceiling. The quicker a home loses its heat, the bigger the heat pump system will need to be to overcome this heat loss.

The sound you hear from an indoor heat pump unit is from the fan pushing warm or cool air into the space it is heating or cooling.

While some heat pump brands boast a 'whisper quiet' heat pump, be aware that the levels are often only achieved on the lowest fan setting, on their smallest unit.

In most cases, you will need a larger unit, which will push out more air, on a higher fan speed.

A heat pump will be the loudest when it's turned on, as it tries to bring the room to temperature as fast as possible. As the unit reaches its set-temperature, the fan will slow, as it only needs to keep the room temperature consistent.

This is why it is important to install the correct sized unit for your space. If the unit is too small, it will struggle at a high fan speed for longer as it tries to reach its set-temperature.

Many new heat pumps these days are equipped with WiFi control, and use the manufacturer's mobile app. A heat pump with WiFi control is a great way to improve energy efficiency, as it will allow you to turn it on before you arrive home, or turn it off if you forgot to. You can also set timer functions much more easily using the manufacturer's app, which is much easier than using its handheld remote.

With more and more appliances and products around the home going 'smart', heat pumps were bound to follow suit.

WiFi control is a great feature, but be aware of the wording when you buy. 'WiFi enabled', may mean purchasing an extra piece of equipment in order to use this feature. If you're unsure, ask the dealer whether WiFi is enabled out of the box.

A heat pump unit can be bulky and take away from the design of your home.

However, there are options now which enhance the look of your room. There are also indoor units in more stylish colours, such as black, red and silver.

Outdoor units look fairly standard across brands and models, however this can be remedied with the purchase of a heat pump cover, or strategic placement.

It's extremely important to have your heat pump installed by a qualified installer. Not only will this ensure your heat pump is installed correctly, but the manufacturer's warranty is retained.

Legally, your installer must also be able to provide an electrical code of compliance which was filled out within 24 hours of the installation.

Your insurer will require a code of compliance after any incidents as a result of the heat pump or its operation. This could cause insurance to not pay out on a claim. If your 'installer' has hit the road, you may be left to foot the bill.

Like most electronics, heat pump prices and quality ranges from low to high.

Cheap heat pumps will more than likely have less features, a shorter life expectancy and be made from poor quality parts, requiring maintenance and repair more often. Its performance on colder days will also be noticeably reduced.

A higher quality heat pump will initially cost you more, however you will likely have it for longer and the manufacturer's warranty will be more comprehensive. It may also include features which make the extra cost warranted.

As with any purchase, do your research and decide on a realistic budget for the unit and installation.

For the best advice, get in touch with a professional. A free in-home consultation is a great place to start and is of no cost to you.

Speak with us on 0800 555 770 to book your free consultation.


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