If you have an air source heat pump, it is normal and expected for it to use more electricity to run during the winter months. Heat pumps work harder to heat your home and hot water when it’s very cold outside – and just like with a traditional boiler, your energy bills will rise at this time of year.
Here are some of our top tips for keeping your heat pump working efficiently this winter, so you can save energy at home.
Keep your heat pump running all the time
Although it seems counter-intuitive, a heat pump runs at its most efficient if it is left on all the time, rather than short blasts of heat in the morning and evening. This is because it is far easier to maintain a cosy temperature than it is to heat up your home from a cold baseline. So to save electricity this winter, choose your desired temperatures for the day time and the night time and try to leave your thermostat alone.
If you are due to be away for a longer time, you can turn your heat pump onto holiday mode – we recommend this is set to around 15°C. This will ensure that your home’s temperature won’t drop too low (and take too long to warm up again) and it protects your pipes from cracking in the cold weather.
Turn the thermostat one degree lower
When your heat pump was installed, your heating system will have been designed with your desired temperatures in mind. For example, at Good Energy, we typically design for a daytime temperature of 21°C in your living areas.
If you normally have your heating set to 21°C, try 20°C or even 19°C in the day.
Many people prefer their homes to be cooler overnight. Set your overnight temperature to around 2 degrees cooler than your daytime temperature. That means your home can quickly and easy get up to temperature again in the morning.
Keep the heat in
To maintain a warm cosy home in the winter months, you should try to minimise drafts by keeping your doors and windows closed as much as you can – although do feel free to air your home once a day to minimise condensation. If your home is allowed to get too cold, your heat pump will need to work harder to bring your home back up to temperature again. In the winter, close your curtains when it gets dark, and consider getting thermal liners to keep more heat in.
Keep all your radiators on
You might have read advice telling you to turn off radiators in rooms that aren’t used, and to shut the door. If you have a heat pump, your heating system will have been designed to work most efficiently with all of your radiators turned on.
Internal walls are not well insulated, so they are generally not good at keeping in heat or cold. So while it might feel sensible to turn off a radiator in a room you don’t use, the radiators in the adjacent rooms will end up working harder, which might cause your heating system to cycle.
Find out more about managing your home’s temperature in our heat pump support article.
Set your hot water temperature to 40-50°C
We are very used to heating our hot water to be far warmer than it needs to be – and then mixing it with lots of cold water when we use it. It saves energy to store water in your tank at a lower temperature. 40 to 50°C is plenty warm enough for most households, as long as it is heated to at least 60°C once a week to make sure the tank stays free from bacteria. This is taken care of by an automatic heating cycle on your hot water tank.
Use less hot water
As well as cutting your water bills, reducing how much hot water you are using will also help you to save energy. This is because your heat pump won’t need to heat the water in your hot water tank so frequently.
Here are some ways to save water, and therefore get your heat pump working even more efficiently:
- Reduce the time you spend in the shower by a couple of minutes.
- Bathe children every other night rather than every night.
- Fill up your dishwasher instead of washing up.
- If you are washing up, fill the bowl rather than leaving the water running.
Install solar panels and a home battery
Heat pumps are compatible with solar panels and home batteries, and installing one or both of these technologies can help to bring down your electricity bills. You will generate the most electricity between April and October, which will mostly be used to heat your hot water and power your other electrical appliances; but will still generate on bright winter days to offset your home heating costs too.
If you have solar panels already – you could also consider changing your weekly hot water tank heat boost to take place during the daytime. On bright days, this would then use your home-generated electricity rather than electricity from the grid.
Maintain a good air flow around your heat pump
We recommend you keep your heat pump clean, and make sure the airways are kept clear of overgrown plants, leaves and other loose debris. Don’t place furniture or bikes in front of it either – it’s really important to maintain a good air flow to keep your heat pump working efficiently.
Schedule an annual heat pump service
Like a traditional boiler, the best way to make sure your heat pump is working well for the long term is to get it serviced once a year by a qualified technician.
.A heat pump service involves cleaning the filters, checking refrigerant levels and making sure air is flowing properly. Your technician will also inspect the system for damage and make sure all connections are tightened or replaced, if necessary. Finally, we check the overall performance and make adjustments to make sure the heat pump is operating at optimal efficiency.
Benefit from our personalised winter tips
We remotely monitor the performance of all the heat pumps we install to ensure they are running as efficiently as possible.
We then use the data to put together personalised reports for all of our customers – sharing how their heat pump is performing and some tips for saving energy. These personalised tips are shared with our customers every winter.