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Tips for using your heat pump

Installing a heat pump is the first step in ensuring you have the most efficient technology to meet your home's heating and cooling needs. Using your heat pump properly and maintaining it regularly will offer you the best performance, energy savings, and the most lifespan out of your unit.

Summer heat pump tips

An attractive feature of a heat pump is its cooling ability. In the cooling cycle, the heat pump transfers heat out of your home.

Heat pumps are very efficient at cooling. This efficiency is measured by the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating of the unit – the higher it is, the more efficient it is for cooling. Heat pumps can be up to 50% more energy efficient than a typical window A/C unit.

Here are a few more tips to help you save and stay cool using your heat pump.

Illustration showing the Heat Pump's cooling design

Set it and forget it

  • Heat pumps work best when holding a steady temperature. Find a temperature setting you're most comfortable with and try to minimize changes.
  • Frequent setting changes may cost you more, and take longer to reach the desired temperature.

Avoid "auto" mode and set to "cool" mode

  • Your heat pump may have an "auto" feature that determines if the space needs to heat or cool. If you need cooling, set it to "cool" mode. While the "auto" feature may be helpful, it doesn't always know best.

Change your filters

  • Cooling requires more airflow than heating. If your filter is dirty, your system will have to work harder to keep you comfortable.
  • Regularly changing your filters provides better indoor air quality for occupants. Dust, dirt, pollen and pet hair may accumulate overtime and reduce airflow.
  • Consult the owner's manual for recommended filter change intervals.

Use air conditioning when needed

  • If you don't require air conditioning, shut off your heat pump. Closing window blinds and windows in the morning and afternoon can help keep the cool air in. In the evening when the outside temperature is cooler, place fans at a window to draw cool air in.
  • Central heat pumps may have a "circulate" mode that moves cool air in basement to warmers areas of the home. This can be an inexpensive way to cool the home without using air conditioning.

If your home experiences overheating in the summer, it can be a sign of inadequate insulation. Upgrading insulation can help you save at least 10% of your home's energy costs. See what rebates you may qualify for with our program.

General tips – maintenance

Just like all other heating systems, regular maintenance will ensure your heat pump remains in peak working order and will provide you with efficient, cost-effective heating. Your heat pump manual will provide guidance on how to set your system up optimally for your needs and recommended maintenance schedule.

Schedule your installer follow-up or maintenance visit in the season opposite to when you first installed your system. The installer will check the system settings to ensure they're set for optimal efficiency and comfort and make adjustments as needed.

They can adjust the thermostat settings to use the heat pump preferentially, and check the outdoor unit mounting for cracks, damage and that it's clear of debris. Use the visit to have them answer your questions.

Consider scheduling regular maintenance every one to two years.

Heat pumps work best when dust filters are clean. Consult your heat pump's user manual on how to clean your unit. Cleaning frequency will depend on your system type (as an example, central systems ingest more dirt from returns on the floor), whether or not you own pets, the number of occupants in your home, etc. Filters on indoor units should be cleaned several times a year and replaced once a year. Cleaning a filter can improve the airflow in your home by as much as 30%.

We’ve created a simple checklist for you, so you can maintain and set your heat pump properly year-round.

1. Set the heat pump temperature for comfort.

  • If your indoor unit is mounted near the ceiling, you may need to set a higher temperature than what you set your electric baseboard thermostat. This is because heat rises, and the temperature sensor is within the ceiling unit.
  • If you also have electric baseboard heaters, turn them down 5 to10℃ lower than your usual setting). This lets the heat pump do the work, and they’re up to 300% more efficient than baseboard heaters.

2. Set it and forget it.

  • Heat pumps operate most efficiently when holding a steady temperature. If settings are frequently adjusted, the unit needs to work harder to come back to the desired temperature.
  • Avoid making big temperature changes; they may cost you more money and comfort.
  • Make sure the unit is set to "heat" and not "auto". The auto mode allows the heat pump to decide whether to heat or cool the space, but it doesn't always know best.

3. Check your indoor and outdoor units.

  • Regularly remove debris and snow around the premise to maintain air flow. Your outdoor unit works hard to move heat around.
  • Make sure the area around the indoor unit isn’t cluttered. Couches, cabinets and curtains can prevent air circulation.