Heat Pump Info & FAQ

WHAT ARE THE MAJOR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE MAJOR BRAND HEAT PUMPS?

Most leading brand NZ heat pumps and air conditioners are reasonably similar in the way the operate and their functions and features.  It really comes down to small differences in efficiency, physical size and appearance, length of warranty, and price.  We have chosen to deal with Fujitsu Heat Pumps as they have a small edge over the other brands in all of these areas.

DO YOU RECOMMEND USING A HEAT TRANSFER SYSTEM IN CONJUNCTION WITH A HEAT PUMP?

No we don’t for a number of reasons.  Firstly, a heat pump is really only suitable for one area of the house.  Sucking the warmed or cooled air out of that room with a “heat transfer” system will result in an uneven room temperature and increased high power bills.  Secondly, the recommended winter temperature in NZ for a heat pump is around 21-22 deg for a living area, or around 16 deg for a bedroom.  By the time this air (16 – 22 deg) has mixed with and diluted the much colder air in other rooms of the house the difference in temperature of those rooms is barely noticable.

DO YOU RECOMMEND PROFESSIONAL HEAT PUMP CLEANING OR SERVICING?

Yes we do.  Depending on the capacity of the heat pump and how much it is used, the indoor unit filters should be cleaned around once per 6 weeks, or on the smaller models twice per year.  You can do this yourself.  We also recommend a proessional clean and service, once per year, which is when we strip and clean the indoor and outdoor units, and perform other maintenence task.  The cost is very reasonable and yearly servicing quite often reduces running costs, and problems which will not be covered by the waranty, such as dust build up on moving parts and sensors.

IS IT TRUE THAT HEAT PUMPS USE LESS POWER IF THEY ARE LEFT ON ALL THE TIME?

No.  This is a myth.  It will cost a lot more to maintain a specific temperature in a room 24hours than it will for just a few hours per day.  Mike Underhill of EECA states in NZ Herald “leaving the heat pump running 24hrs a day would clearly push the powerbill up”

IS A HEAT PUMP LIKE A VENTILATION SYSTEM?

No. A heat pump is principally for heating or cooling your home. A ventilation system uses a fan to blow air from the ceiling cavity into your home, and is primarily for reducing condensation.

WHAT DOES C.O.P. MEAN?

Co-efficient Of Performance. If a heat pump has a COP of 4.0, this means for every kilowatt of electrical energy consumed, 4.0kilowatts of heat is produced, or in other terms $4 of heat for $1 cost.  The higher the COP the more efficient the heat pump is.  Fujitsu heat pumps are market leading in efficiency.

WHAT DOES E.E.R. MEAN?

Energy Efficiency ratio.  This is basically the C.O.P. for the cooling efficiency of the heat pump.

HOW ARE HEAT PUMPS BETTER THAN OTHER FORMS OF HEATING?

  • • Heat pumps provide 3-5 times the amount of heat per dollar than any other form of heating.
  • • Heat pumps do not have any hot surfaces like gas heaters, fireplaces or electric heaters. This makes them extremely safe for children and elderly people, and they present no fire danger.
  • • Heat pumps do not burn oxygen, create poisonous gases, unpleasant odours, or damp and unhealthy air like gas heaters.
  • • Heat pumps can be used to cool your home in summer.
  • • Heat pumps do not pollute the atmosphere with CO2 or other greenhouse gases.
  • • Warming your home is as easy as pressing a button on the remote control.
  • • A correctly sized heat pump will warm the entire room in 10 – 30 minutes.  No more huddling in front of heaters on cold nights.
  • They are usually very simple and cost effective to install unlike fireplaces and gas fires.

HOW IS AN INVERTER HEAT PUMP DIFFERENT FROM A FIXED-SPEED HEAT PUMP?

An inverter heat pump will automatically vary the speed of the compressor (which adjusts the temperature of the air leaving the heat pump)  to match the heating/cooling needs of your home. A fixed speed heat pump will switch off when your room reaches the set temperature, and switch back on again when the room cools down. An inverter heat pump will heat or cool your room faster, maintain your home at a much more even temperature, and is approximately 30% more energy efficient than a fixed-speed heat pump. Most manufacturers in NZ are no longer making fixed speed heat pumps.

DO HEAT PUMPS NEED TO BE INSTALLED ‘BACK-TO-BACK’ ON AN EXTERIOR WALL?

Heat pumps can be installed on almost any wall, as long as there is a suitable route for piping and wiring to be run to outside. Back to back installation where possible does mean costs are kept to a minimum, as condensate pumps and other accessories are not required.

ARE SOME HEAT PUMPS NOISIER THAN OTHERS?

Some NZ heat pump manufacturers like to make a big deal out their “quiet” models.  The fact is, all leading brands of heat pumps are extremely quiet, and it is impossible for the human ear to detect the difference in noise levels of 1 or 2 decibels. The only noise from the indoor unit is the fan noise, which on quiet mode is almost silent. The decibel ratings for heat pumps are listed in the product brochures.

HOW IS A HEAT PUMP OPERATED?

Heat pumps are controlled with an infrared remote control, with such features as on/off, desired temperature, heat/cool mode, fan speed, and can be programmed to operate at selected times, ensuring a warm home on your return from work, or first thing in the morning.

MY HOME IS BOTH COLD AND DAMP.  AM I BETTER OFF WITH A VENTILATION SYSTEM OR A HEAT PUMP?

A ventilation system will not heat your home, nor will a heat pump rid your home of condensation.  Although some ventilation systems have in-built heaters, this is to prevent your home being cooled as the system must run during cold winter nights to stop the condensation build up in the morning.  And although most heat pumps have a dehumidify function, this is a gentle cooling process and is unsuitable in winter when the condensation occurs, and is not enough to keep your entire home free of condensation.  A ventilation system and heat pump together provides the ultimate in home comfort.

WHATS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A HEAT PUMPS AND A VENTILATION SYSTEM?

As the name suggests, a ventilation system is designed to ventilate – introduce fresh air into an area. When the introduced air is colder than inside they can use electric heaters to boost the temperature. The heating efficiency is therefore the same as an ordinary electric heater. Spend a $1 and get $1 worth of heat.

Heat pumps transfer heat, not air, from outside into the home. They have do not need a heating element.  A heat pump will return more than $3 worth of heat for every $1 you spend with a properly sized and installed heat pump. They also reverse to cool your home in summer. Fujitsu Ducted and Cassette heat pump Systems are able to have connections providing fresh air ventilation.
WHY SHOULD I USE KIWI ELECTRICAL TO INSTALL MY HEAT PUMP?

We are accredited installers for Fujitsu, and offer an extended Fujitsu 6-year warranty, (a full year longer than non-accredited installers).  As we carry out the entire sales/installation/wiring process ourselves we are able to minimise our costs and offer very competitive prices.

CAN I PURCHASE A HEAT PUMP FROM YOU AND ARRANGE MY OWN INSTALLATION?

No, our suppliers like to have quality control over their product.  We do not supply heat pumps without installation included.  An improperly installed heat pump will cost a lot more to run and will have a significantly shortened life.

A HOME VENTILATION COMPANY TOLD ME THAT I CAN “RECOVER THE FREE HEAT” FROM MY ROOF SPACE AND USE IT TO HEAT MY HOUSE MORE EFFICIENTLY THAN A HEAT PUMP.  IS THIS TRUE?

NO!  We have come across many customers who have bought a ventilation system after being told it would significantly heat their home with free warm air from the roof space.  Even on a sunny winters day the air in the roof space is only slightly warmer than outside.  Cloudy or wet winter days and at night (the times when your home most requires heating) the roof space air is as cold as it is outside and there is absolutely no “free heat”!  Blowing this cold air into your home with a “heat recovery ventilation” system will unfortunately not heat your home at all!