There are some fundamental performance differences between heat pumps and furnaces when it comes to heating a home.
A furnace will run less but push out significantly warmer air. Once the thermostat reaches the set temperature it will shut off. Generating that hotter air requires more fuel but the unit won’t run as long.
Air that comes from a heat pump vent will feel cooler than the air that comes out of a furnace. The heat pump uses less energy to slowly increase the temperature in a home. It will run longer, and won’t raise the temperature as quickly as a furnace, but the heat pump will consume less energy in the process.
The backup heating element is an exception to the heat pump’s general efficiency. This backup heat source only switches on in specific situations but consumes a lot of energy.
There are scenarios, especially in a cold climate like Maine, where you could accidentally cause your system to turn on its backup heater. If you walk into a 50-degree house and jack the thermostat up to 80 degrees the system might kick on the backup heater for support. To avoid this you should gradually increase the temperature on the thermostat. This issue often arises during cold mornings. Drastically increasing the temperature in the morning the backup heating element kicks on and costs you more money than you saved by keeping the thermostat low all night.
Proper Thermostat Installation and Calibration
Most DIYers with a voltage tester and who knows where their circuit breakers are can replace a smart thermostat. But, they might not know how to get optimal performance out of it.
Heat pumps, furnaces, and air conditioning units have slightly different wiring configurations. Certain components may need to be connected differently than they were on the old thermostat. Wiring mistakes are easy to make. If you have multiple heating and cooling units connected to your HVAC system, or you’re upgrading to a new thermostat with features your current thermostat doesn’t possess, you may want to consult with an HVAC technician for thermostat installation.
Replacing Air Filters Frequently
Not every air filter in every home will need to be replaced monthly. How frequently you should replace your air filters to maintain an optimal balance of indoor air quality, energy consumption, and heating and cooling performance varies based on your home, family, and your system.
As a rule of thumb, the more affordable, lower MERV-rated air filters should be replaced more often than high MERV filters. Homes with pets, excessive dust, wood fires, or smokers may require more frequent replacement to ensure the filter is always allowing enough air to pass through.
Buying the highest MERV filter available, such as a HEPA filter, may not be the best answer either. Not every air conditioner or furnace is able to pull air through the dense higher MERV filters currently available. The higher the MERV rating the harder your system will need to work to pull air through the return. This could result in higher energy costs and accelerated HVAC wear.
Keep Your Outdoor Coils Cleaned and Clear
Your heat pump condenser located outside can become obstructed with leaves, grass clippings, vegetation, or other debris, resulting in reduced efficiency. Subjected to the elements year-round, this part of the unit tends to get dirtiest.
The outdoor coil is a key component in heat transfer, but it can struggle if the coils are clogged or obstructed. Letting dirt or debris build-up on and around the condenser may force your heat pump to work harder than it needs to in order to cool or heat your home. This can potentially lead to higher utility costs and more frequent unit breakdowns.
This is also one of the HVAC maintenance tasks a homeowner can do themselves; use a hose to spray off the exterior coils or just clear debris with your hands.
DIY condenser coil cleaning isn’t a replacement for professional HVAC maintenance, but it can help improve the performance and longevity of your heat pump.
Get Professional HVAC Maintenance or Heat Pump Installation in Bangor
Residents of Bangor and the surrounding areas who are looking for trusted local HVAC technicians for heat pump repair, installation, or maintenance should give Valley Home Services a call. Our experts have extensive experience servicing all types of heat pumps, air conditioners, and furnaces.
Call us at (207) 945-9008 to get fast, efficient heat pump services that will help keep your unit running smoothly and efficiently.