Make Heat Pumps Work for You
Heat pumps are the most efficient form of electric heating in moderate climates like ours in this region, providing three times more heating than the equivalent amount of energy they consume in electricity. As much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling. So making smart decisions about your home’s Heat Pump/HVAC system can have a big effect on your utility bills—and your comfort.
How Heat Pumps Work
Instead of making heat, a heat pump extracts it from the outside. Your refrigerator is a good example of a one-way heat pump. It removes heat from the air inside the refrigerator and moves it to the coils on the outside (back or bottom) of the refrigerator.
Cost Cutting Tips for your Heat Pump & Winter Energy Usage
- We recommend setting your thermostat temperature as low as you can in the winter. 68° is usually a good temperature. Instead of raising the temperature in your home, use sweaters, jackets, or blankets for extra warmth.
- While 68° is recommended, just remember that the colder it is outside, and the higher your thermostat is set, the longer and harder your system will have to work to achieve your desired temperature. When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 10° to 15° for eight hours and save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills. A smart or programmable thermostat can make it easy to set back your temperature.
- Many heat pumps have auxiliary electric heat that kicks in automatically if it gets too cold and your heat pump “needs help.” Today’s “smart” electronic thermostats allow heat to rise gradually when you turn it back up and avoid the auxiliary heat, which is much less efficient. If you have a non-electronic thermostat, only change your temperature one or two degrees at a time to keep the auxiliary heat from kicking in.
- Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
- Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney.
- Keep in mind that your system will continue to run, when you’re away from home, unless you turn your breaker off. However, if you’re going away during cold weather, you should keep low heat on (you can turn it down to 50° or below) to avoid freezing pipes.