16 August 2020
Getting your home ready for the onslaught of winter is a smart thing to do if you want to stay warm and healthy inside and keep a lid on those horrendous energy bills.
However, when we started to look around at some of the advice out there, our team realised there are a few myths that need to be debunked. We’ve made a list of our top 6 home energy efficiency myths, each with a practical alternative that might help you out.
Myth #1: Set the thermostat to maximum to heat a room faster
Yep, you guessed it. It’s a big myth. While it might be really tempting when it’s freezing outside, maxing out the thermostat on your heat pump won’t heat a room any faster. It takes the same time to heat a room to a comfortable temperature to start with. And if you don’t turn it back down in time you’ll be wasting money overheating your room. It's healthier and economical to set the temperature between 18-20 degrees.
Myth #2: Leave your heat pump on all day
This is one of the biggest myths around. You’ll save money if you switch off when you’re out of the house. Energywise recommend only using a heat pump when you need it. Set the timer so your rooms are warm for you when you need them. Also, it’s more efficient to use the ‘heat’ mode rather than ‘auto’, which switches between heating and cooling to maintain a consistent temperature, burning more energy on the way. Heat pumps have one of the lowest running costs as below (ref: Energywise)
Energywise technical expert Christian Hoerning estimated switching a heat pump off while out could slash "roughly $50 to $100 a month" from a typical power bill.”
Myth #3: Leaving lights on uses less power than switching them off then back on again
Some people still think it is more efficient to leave a light on when leaving a room for a short period, rather than turning it off then back on again when you get back. Unfortunately it’s not the case. Other than the few calories you might burn moving the switch, there’s only a very minor lift in power when you switch a light on. If you leave a room, turn off the lights. And if you haven’t switched to energy efficient LED lights… what are you waiting for!
Myth #4: A heat pump can heat your whole house
Other than ducted or multi-head units, heat pumps are not designed to heat a whole home. They are thermostatically controlled to heat a room (and possibly small adjacent areas) but not multiple rooms. Leaving doors open to other rooms may warm them slightly but make the room where the heat pump is overly hot which is an inefficient, costly operation.
Myth #5: Put your computers on sleep mode and turn your TV off to save power
While it is true that putting your computer on sleep mode is better than leaving it fully powered up, when your appliances remain plugged and powered up at the wall, even in sleep mode, they continue to drain energy. When you are not using an appliance, turn the power off at the wall.
Myth #6: Open fires are more efficient than heat pumps
While we love an open fire, its appeal is more romantic than practical or environmental with much of the heat heading up the chimney.
Modern wood burners do offer low running costs if, especially if you can access cheap firewood. They also produce relatively little pollution provided the wood used is dry. However, you need a building consent to install one and in most cases you will need to use a woodburner on the approved list from the Ministry for the Environment.
When it comes to home heating, heat pumps are the cleanest, easiest to use, most efficient, controllable, and safest options for your home. They offer the lowest running costs when used properly. They also provide instant heat and are highly convenient as you have full control over the temperature, plus timer options. A heat pump can only be used to heat one space however and will need to be correctly sized - too big or too small is no comfort.
If you'd like advice about what's best for your place, contact us today. We'll visit you and do a FREE Home Assessment to let you know how to make your home warmer and drier, and save on power bills!