In a literal polar opposite of our main concern in winter, right now Kiwis are striving to shed heat and create an oasis of cool within their homes. As the mercury climbs and summer gets sizzling, many people will turn their minds to technology for a solution. How can you get the most out of your heat pump air conditioner? Here are some common myths, exploded.
Myth — Heat pumps are costly to run. The truth — like driving a car, how you utilise your heat pump dictates the cost.
All of the modern air conditioning solutions on the market today are more energy efficient than those which have gone before, but the best trick to efficiency — above and beyond good placement during installation — is to go ‘light on the gas pedal’.
It’s tempting to come home and turn the level right down as low as it can go, blasting cold air. Leaving the machine on this setting all night is a sure fire way to devour electricity. Use the inbuilt thermostat, and if you want a cool home when you get back from work, utilise a timer function or invest in home automation to control your air from a smartphone or tablet remotely.
Myth — bigger is better. The truth — the key to efficiency with heat pumps is not size; it’s placement.
Many folks decide where they want to place their air con due to style considerations. The best way to ensure inexpensive and effective coverage is to have the machine placed by a professional. They’ll take into consideration the layout of your home, prevailing air currents, and importantly, how the interior unit interacts with the outdoor unit.
A long run of piping is never a good idea here, and while it is possible to place a heat pump on any wall, sometimes the costs outweigh the benefits. Remember that there are in-ceiling ‘cassette’ and floor standing console units to choose from as well.
Myth — one heat pump can cover my whole house. The truth — unless it’s a small or very open plan home, this is usually not the case.
Even a large unit may be taxed to control the temperature through a whole home. Similarly, heat pumps do not fare well with heat transfer systems designed for fireplaces. A multi-split system may be the answer — one large external device running two internal diffusers.
Or combine living-area air conditioning with simpler solutions such as fans for the bedroom area. No matter what you choose, always have your air conditioning system assessed and installed by qualified professionals, and select a quality brand.