A heat pump can provide an efficient option for heating your home in the winter, but only if it is used correctly.
1. Adjust the Temperature Gradually
When adjusting the thermostat for comfort, avoid drastic shifts in temperature. If you increase the temp on your heat pump too much, then the backup heater may power on to try and meet the increased heating demand more quickly than the heat pump could do alone. Instead, increase the temperature slowly, only a couple of degrees at a time, over a few hours. This way your heat pump, which is likely more efficient than your backup system, can keep up with the increasing demand.
2. Maintain Consistent Temperatures
A common piece of advice for saving on heating is to turn down the thermostat when you aren't home. Although this is sound advice for some heating systems, it doesn't apply to a heat pump. A heat pump runs most efficiently when it maintains a temperature. Turning down the thermostat enough to realize savings means you will need to turn it up by quite a bit once you get back home, which then results in the backup heater coming on.
3. Replace System Filters Monthly
It's always important to change out air filters if you want any heating system to run efficiently. This is especially true for heat pumps. Failure to replace the filters regularly not only costs you in efficiency, but it also shortens the life of the heat pump and can lead to the need for more frequent repairs. If you have pets, it is even more vital to replace the filters monthly since their fur can clog the filters and lead to exceedingly poor heating efficiency.
4. Clear the Outdoor Coils
The outdoor portion of the heat pump can be easy to overlook, especially if you are more used to traditional furnaces that have no outdoor portions. Snow, fallen leaves, and other debris can collect around the coils outside and prevent proper operation. Sweep away debris as it collects. On warm days, when temperatures are well above freezing, you can use a hose to rinse off the coils so that they can work more efficiently.
5. Avoid Emergency Heat Settings
Many heat pumps have a setting called "emergency heat." This setting is designed to run both the heat pump and your backup heating system concurrently. Although this will heat up the home quickly, it is not very efficient. Instead, leave the heat pump in the normal mode setting unless you really do have an emergency that requires upping the temperature rapidly.
Tuneups and proper maintenance services also increase efficiency. Contact an HVAC system service for more help.