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How Do Heat Pumps Compare to Other Forms of Heating?

Heat pumps are regularly touted as the best heating method for the home. So what benefits do they offer? And how do they actually compare to other heating options?

Energy Efficiency

Heat pumps offer the best energy efficiency of any heating method. This is because a heat pump doesn’t create heat. It simply transfers heat from one place to another.

Even when it’s cold outside, there is warmth present in the atmosphere. Using the same compressor technology as a fridge or freezer, a heat pump collects heat from the outside air and transfers the heat to inside the home.

The process is incredibly energy efficient. This is clear from the coefficient of performance (COP) of a heat pump, which measures how much heat you get per kW of energy consumed.

While a regular electric heater has a COP of 1 (1kW of energy produces 1kW of heat), a heat pump typically has a COP of 2-5 (1kW of energy produces 2-5kW of heat).


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Cost

If you’re comparing an electric heater from Kmart, and a heat pump, then there’s no real comparison. A heat pump will undoubtedly cost you more to buy and install.

→Related article: Best Kmart Heaters For Winter

But in the long term, heat pumps provide real savings. Acording to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), a heat pump has some of the lowest operating costs available.

Source: Genless

Sustainability

Everyone loves the romance a fireplace provides. But less romantic is the harmful CO² it releases. Heat pumps don’t emit any harmful particles; they don’t burn environmentally harmful gas, like flued and unflued gas heaters; and their long lifespans avoid the waste associated with cheap electric heaters that don’t even last the winter.

And they’re incredibly energy efficient. This lowers demand on our national electricity grid during peak winter months, when fossil fuel electricity generation is often used to top up supplies of sustainably generated power.

Multiple uses and functions

Heat pumps are great for keeping you warm in winter, but they’re also useful and incredibly cheap to run for cooling in summer.

Aside from functioning as an air conditioner, many heat pumps have modes for drying laundry hung indoors, as well as air purification and even deodorisation.

The airflow provided also helps prevent moisture build-up and unhealthy humidity. This compares very favourably to unflued gas heaters, which actually add humidity into your home.

Precise control, comfort and convenience

A heat pump lets you take precise control of a room’s temperature, for ultimate comfort. With other forms of heating, sitting in front of or near the appliance can result in too much direct heat, while being far from the appliance can leave you feeling no warmth at all.

And a heat pump can be set to turn off and on when required. Plus maintenance requirements are relatively low. Depending on how frequently it’s used, a quick clean of the filters every few months is all that’s needed.

→Related article: How to Clean Heat Pump Filters

Heat pump: the best way to heat a Kiwi home

If you can manage the upfront purchase and installation costs, a heat pump is undoubtedly an excellent option for the home. It provides unrivalled comfort at the lowest operating cost and has multiple benefits that can be enjoyed all year round.

If you are looking at installing a heat pump, there are a few options that can help you manage the costs. You can talk to your mortgage provider about a low-interest (or no-interest) home loan top-up, such as those on offer from ANZ and Westpac.

There are also grants that can help with insulation and heating costs.

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author andrew broadley

About the author of this page

This report was written by Canstar Content Producer, Andrew Broadley. Andrew is an experienced writer with a wide range of industry experience. Starting out, he cut his teeth working as a writer for print and online magazines, and he has worked in both journalism and editorial roles. His content has covered lifestyle and culture, marketing and, more recently, finance for Canstar.


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