Heat pumps are all the rage right now, and for good reason. They are an energy-efficient way to heat and cool your home and can save you money on your utility bills.

But how efficient is a heat pump, really?

And what factors affect its efficiency?

In this article, we’ll take a look at the efficiency of heat pumps and temperature, as well as some of the factors that can affect their efficiency. We’ll also provide some tips on how you can optimize your heat pump’s efficiency.

First, let’s look at how heat pumps work. Heat pumps use electricity to transfer heat from one place to another. In the summer, they can be used to move heat from your home’s interior to the outside air, cooling your home in the process.

In the winter, heat pumps can be used to move heat from the outside air into your home, warming it in the process.

How Efficient Is A Heat Pump?

Heat pumps are extremely efficient. A ground source heat pump can achieve an efficiency of 400 percent, whereas a modern condensing boiler may be up to 90% efficient.

The difference in efficiency is significant. Because, unlike boilers, heat pumps produce more energy than they consume – especially via electricity – the effect on overall performance is far greater.

Related: What is the Efficiency of a Heat Pump?

Air source heat pump efficiency

The efficiency of an air source heat pump is approximately 300 percent. This is due to the fact that it normally outputs over 3 units of heat energy into the property for each unit of energy it absorbs from the air during its operation.

Like ground source heat pumps, they will produce more energy than they consume – making them extremely efficient overall and a major benefit to the environment.

In fact, air-source heat pumps are so efficient that they have been known to reduce a property’s energy consumption by up to 60 percent. And as they become more popular, their efficiency is only likely to increase.

The SEER rating of a heat pump is calculated by dividing the cooling power (BTUs) used in one season by the amount of energy (watt-hours) consumed. A greater SEER indicates a more efficient heat pump.

Ground source heat pump efficiency

Ground source heat pumps are also extremely efficient. In fact, they are the most efficient type of heat pump available on the market today.

The heat pump absorbs and transmits three to four units of heat for each unit of electricity consumed.

In other words, a properly constructed Ground Source Heat Pump might be 300-400% efficient in terms of its consumption of power.

Air Source Heat Pump Temperature Settings

The goal of the heat pump is to raise the temperature of your hot water tank to about 35-40°C. However, this is not hot enough to destroy any bacteria within the tank.

As a result, the tank should be heated to 60°C once a week – you’ll notice an increase in electricity usage as a result.

Ground Source Heat Pump Temperature Settings

A ground source heat pump extracts heat from the soil below the ground. Once collected, this heat is amplified, increasing its temperature of it from 42°F to 68°F – 78°F.

This thermal energy may then be used to warm your home using your central heating system or underfloor heating system.

At What Temperature Does A Heat Pump Become Inefficient?

When the temperature drops below 25°F for most systems, heat pumps do not function as well.

When outdoor temperatures drop to 40°F or lower, heat pumps begin to lose efficiency and require more energy to accomplish their tasks.

This is because the heat pump must work harder to remove heat from the air, and it doesn’t have as much to work with. Additionally, the heat that is removed from the air is not as hot, so it doesn’t heat your home as effectively.

A heat pump’s efficiency also decreases when it has to work harder due to the high demand for heating or cooling.

When the temperature in your home fluctuates frequently or rapidly, the heat pump has to turn on and off more often, which can reduce its overall efficiency.

Heat Pumps and Energy Consumption

A heat pump with a CoP of three can produce three kW of heat from each one kWh of electricity. The average household consumes approximately 12,000 kWh of heat each year.

To meet this goal, a heat pump with a CoP of three would need to consume 4,000 kWh of electricity every year in order to generate the necessary 12,000 kWh required.

A heat pump may reduce a home’s heating expenses by two-thirds when compared to direct electric heating by delivering three to four times more heat energy than consumed electricity to operate the device.

Using Them to Heat and Cool

The great thing about heat pumps is having the ability to use them for both heating and cooling your home.

During the winter, a heat pump extracts warmth from the air or ground outside and uses it to heat your home. In the summer, the process is reversed, and the heat pump moves warm air from your home to the outdoors.

Not only does this make heat pumps extremely versatile, but it also makes them much more energy-efficient than traditional heating and cooling systems.

Some people worry that heat pumps will overheat their homes in the summer. However, most heat pumps have a built-in safety feature that prevents this from happening.

If the temperature inside your home begins to rise too high, the heat pump will automatically switch to its cooling mode until the temperature returns to a safe level.

How to Increase Efficiency

If you want to increase the efficiency of your heat pump, there are a few things you can do.

First, make sure that your heat pump is the right size for your home. If it’s too small, it will have to work harder to heat and cool your home, which will decrease its overall efficiency.

Additionally, you should keep the area around your heat pump clean and free of debris. This will help it to run more smoothly and prevent it from overworking itself.

Finally, you should have your heat pump serviced by a professional at least once a year. This will ensure that it is running properly and catch any potential problems before they become serious.

Related: How Often Should Heat Ducts Be Cleaned? (ANSWERED)

Getting the Best Coefficient of Performance

When the outside temperature drops below 5°C, remove any ice that has formed on the evaporator as a result of the moisture produced by the air condensing.

Since the ice reduces the coil’s heat-transfer capabilities, it should be removed and switched to ‘defrost mode’ by reversing its function.

To melt the ice, use hot air from the outdoor coil to defrost the evaporator.

Even if this isn’t mentioned on the manufacturer’s coefficient of performance (COP), when the ice is removed, the SPF decreases as well. This way, you’ll save energy and increase operating efficiency by 5-10%.


When do heat pumps stop working?

For the more expensive heat pump products, you might expect an efficiency of around -18 to -22 degrees Celsius. You may even come upon versions that will keep functioning up to -25 degrees Celsius.

Which heat pump heats more efficiently?

A heat pump with a desuperheater can heat water 2 to 3 times more efficiently than an electric water heater with no superheater.
The scroll compressor is another advancement in heat pump technology, which is made up of two spiral-shaped scrolls.

What determines the efficiency of a heat pump?

The SEER rating of a heat pump is calculated by dividing the amount of cooling power (BTUs) used over the course of one season by the energy (watt-hours) consumed. A greater SEER indicates a more energy-efficient heat pump.

How can I make my heat pump more efficient in the winter?

Heat pumps work best when maintaining a consistent temperature. Turning down a heat pump when you’re away or asleep may actually use more energy than leaving it on. It has to work harder to return to the desired temperature than it does simply to maintain it.

About the Author

Passionate about helping households transition to sustainable energy with helpful information and resources.

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