Heat pumps have long been used in the Southern United States to both cool and heat homes. In recent years, many homeowners in the Northern United States have also begun having heat pumps installed. As The Boston Globe reports, some models are suitable for temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit, and many units are more efficient than other heating methods, such as oil. If you're having a ductless heat pump installed in your home, here are some steps you can take to reduce how much energy your heat pump uses.
Get a Home Energy Audit
Getting a home energy audit will help you identify how you can better insulate your home. It'll show you where warm air is leaking out in the winter, and then you can decide how to reduce how much heat is lost.
After getting an audit, you may want to upgrade the insulation in your home's walls, install new, higher-quality windows, get a new front door, or make other changes. What changes you make will depend on your home and budget. Any improvements in insulation, however big or small, will help your ductless heat pump use less energy, because your house will better retain the heat the heat pump provides.
Get a Heat Pump Rated for Your Area's Average Cold Temperatures
Rather than getting a ductless heat pump that's rated for the coldest weather your area sees, get one that's optimized to be most efficient at your area's average winter temperature. For instance, if your town sees cold snaps that get down to -10 degrees Fahrenheit, but the average winter temperature is 15 degrees above zero, get a heat pump that's most efficient at 15 degrees.
Getting one that's built for your area's average winter temperature, rather than the region's coldest temperature, will ensure that the unit is running as efficiently as possible as often as possible. After all, it'll be the average temperature more frequently than it's the coldest temperature.
You may even consider units that aren't rated for the coldest temperatures your area sees, as long as you have a secondary heating source that can complement your heat pump. When it's really cold outside, you can run your heat pump and any of the following to keep your house warm:
- space heaters
- electric heaters
- wood stoves
- wood or gas fireplaces
Together, two sources of heat should keep you warm through the coldest of nights.
Shield Your Ductless Heat Pump from Snow and Ice
A ductless heat pump will only work if air is able to circulate through the exterior part of the heat pump. In the Northern United States, snow and ice can greatly reduce airflow during winter.
To prevent snow and ice from affecting your heat pump, you'll need to shield it from the elements. You can do this by:
- Putting up two or three boards to shield the sides of the heat pump that are most exposed to snow
- Installing the heat pump below a porch that prevents snow from falling on it
- Placing the heat pump on a stand and under an overhang so that, although snow may accumulate around the bottom of the stand, it won't gather on the heat pump
Sign Up for a Maintenance Plan
To ensure your ductless heat pump continues to work well and efficiently year after year, sign up for a maintenance plan. Many companies that install heat pumps offer plans that include annual tune-ups, where they'll go over the heat pump and let you know if any repairs are necessary. Even if no repairs are needed, an annual tune-up includes any regular maintenance, such as changing the heat pump's air filters, which help it continue to work efficiently. For more information, contact a company like Salem Heating & Sheet Metal, Inc.