If you are looking to improve the performance and efficiency of your heat pump, there are a few things you can do.

Even the best heat pump can benefit from a little regular maintenance. By keeping your heat pump clean and well-maintained, you can ensure that it is operating at peak efficiency.

In this article, we will take a look at some of the things you can do to improve heat pump performance and efficiency.

Are Heat Pumps Efficient?

The most energy-efficient method to heat and cool your house is with heat pumps. The Coefficient of Performance (CoP) by which the amount of heat generated for each unit of electricity consumed is referred to as efficiency, and for heat pumps, this can be as high as 5.

This means that for every unit of electricity used by the heat pump, 5 units of heat are produced. In comparison, a standard electrical heater has a CoP of just 1.

They work by transferring heat from one place to another. In the summer, they transfer heat from your home to the outside air. In the winter, they transfer heat from the outside air into your home.

This makes them much more efficient and effective than other heating and cooling methods, such as gas boilers or furnaces.

Couple this with added features like Nest preheating which automatically triggers when someone is home and you have a recipe for an extremely efficient heating system.

Related: What is the Efficiency of a Heat Pump?

Heat Pump Coefficient Of Performance Vs Temperature

What is heat pump CoP?

In a heat pump, the COP is the proportion between the power (kW) sucked out of the heat pump as cooling or heating and the power (kW) supplied to the compressor and fans.

A higher COP means a more efficient heat pump – in other words, it produces more heating or cooling for the same amount of electricity used.

Coefficient of performance is usually quoted as a ratio between 3 and 5 for most domestic heat pumps.

This means that for every 1kW of electricity used by the heat pump, 3-5kW of heating or cooling is produced.

However, this efficiency does not remain constant throughout the year. In fact, it varies quite significantly depending on the temperature outside.

In general, the colder it is outside, the lower the COP of the heat pump will be. This is because it takes more energy to transfer heat from cold air than it does from warm air.

During severe cold weather, the efficiency performance typically drops. In mild weather, for example, the COP might be around 4.0, but it can fall to 2.5 when the temperature falls below 0°C.

On average, heat pump COPs have a seasonal variation of about 2.5-2.8 percent over the course of a year.

Related: Heat Pump Efficiency Vs Temperature

Improving Your Air Source and Ground Source Heat Pump Performance

Keeping it clean and well-maintained

You can ensure that your heat pump is operating at peak efficiency by keeping it clean and well-maintained.

Regularly cleaning the air filter will help to keep the system running smoothly and prevent any build-up of dirt and dust.

It is also important to check the outdoor unit of your heat pump on a regular basis. This is because the outdoor coils can become clogged with leaves and other debris, which can reduce the efficiency of the system.

If you notice that the coils are dirty, simply use a garden hose to clean them off. You should also trim back any plants or shrubs that are growing around the unit to ensure that there is adequate airflow.

Use a thermostat

One of the best ways to improve heat pump performance and efficiency is to use a thermostat.

A thermostat will help to regulate the temperature in your home, which can save you money on your energy bills.

It is also important to set the thermostat to the correct temperature. In the winter, you should set it to around 20°C, and in the summer, you should set it to around 26°C.

By doing this, you can ensure that your heat pump is only running when it needs to be, which will improve efficiency and save you money.

Upgrade your insulation

One of the biggest factors that can affect heat pump performance is insulation. If your home is not properly insulated, heat will escape through the walls and ceilings, making your heat pump work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature.

This will not only reduce the efficiency of your system, but it will also increase your energy bills.

Weatherize your Home

Another way to improve heat pump performance and efficiency are to weatherize your home. This means making sure that all of the cracks and gaps around your doors and windows are sealed so that heat cannot escape.

You can do this yourself with some caulk or weatherstripping, or you can hire a professional to do it for you.

Either way, this is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to improve the performance of your heat pump.

Lower the temperature when you’re not home

If you are going to be away from home for an extended period of time, it is best to lower the temperature on your heat pump.

This will prevent heat from escaping while you are gone and will save you money on your energy bills.

You can lower the temperature by a few degrees before you leave and then raise it again when you return.

Consider upgrading your pipes

Upgrading your pipes to lower temperature materials can also help to improve heat pump performance and efficiency.

It will take less energy to transfer heat through the pipes, which will improve the overall efficiency of your system.

Check the size of your radiators

Oftentimes, increasing the size of your radiators can also help to improve heat pump performance.

This is down to the fact that larger radiators will emit more heat, which will make it easier for your heat pump to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home.

The contractor installing your heat pump will be able to advise you on whether or not this is a good option for your home.

Use a humidifier

If you live in an area with low humidity, using a humidifier can also help to improve heat pump performance.

In essence, humid air holds heat better than dry air, which means that your heat pump will not have to work as hard to maintain a comfortable temperature.

Heat Pump Efficiency Chart

The chart below is a heat pump efficiency chart showing you the performance characteristics of a single-speed air source heat pump.

The chart also includes the cooling loads for a typical building.

Heat pump efficiency chart
Heat pump efficiency chart

As you can see from the chart, In cold climates, the efficiency of heat pumps decreases as the outside temperature falls. This is in contrast to the building load trend. The balance point of heat pump capacity versus building load is known as outdoor temperature when it equals the building load.

When the temperature outside falls below the balance point, supplemental heat (usually electrical resistance) is required to maintain the building at the desired temperature.

The coefficient of performance (COP shown in the above graph is for the refrigerant circuit only, and it does not account for heat effects outside of the operating temperature range.

FAQs

Is it better to leave the heat pump on all day?

No, running a heat pump all day is not economically efficient. According to Energywise, you should switch off your heat pump when you don’t need it. This is aimed at reducing energy waste.

How can I tell if my heat pump is working efficiently?

One way to tell if your heat pump is working efficiently is to check your energy bills. If you notice that your energy bills are higher than usual, it may be a sign that your heat pump is not operating as efficiently as it should be.
Another way to tell if your heat pump is working efficiently is to listen for any strange noises coming from the unit. If you hear anything unusual, it may be a sign that something is wrong with your system.

What are some common problems with heat pumps?

Some common problems with heat pumps include dirty coils, improper thermostat settings, and leaky ductwork. These problems can all lead to reduced efficiency and increased energy costs.

How often should I have my heat pump serviced?

It is recommended that you have your heat pump serviced at least once per year. This will help to ensure that it is working properly and efficiently.

How does a heat pump work in the summer?

In the summer your heat pump transfers heat from inside your home to the outside. It uses the coil and fan to move the heat. The fan blows over the evaporator coil and as the refrigerant inside the coil absorbs the heat from your home, it turns into a gas. The compressor then pumps the refrigerant gas to the outside unit where it is condensed back into a liquid by releasing its heat into the air outside.

How does a heat pump work in the winter?

In the winter your heat pump transfers heat from the outside air into your home. The amount of energy used during this time is a lot less than a gas boiler or electric heater, as the heat from the air outside is used rather than having to generate new heat.

About the Author

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

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