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Fact or Fiction: Heat Pumps Lose Efficiency in Cold Weather

Without professional advice, it is easy for myths to spring up about your home’s heating system. A common myth is that your heat pump will lose efficiency in cold weather. It can be worrisome to hear that your heat pump is running continuously, but this system doesn’t need to cycle the way your air conditioning system does. Here’s what you should know about your heat pump to set your mind at ease.

The Facts

Heat pumps are incredibly efficient, even in cold, cold weather. While it’s true that the efficiency may dip slightly as the mercury in your thermometer plummets, your heat pump is still performing with impressive efficiency. Other settings on your thermostat will end up costing you far more than your heat pump will.

Why Does My Heat Pump Run All the Time?

Your heat pump is designed to run 24/7 when the weather gets cold. Your heat pump moves warm air through your home, which is an easier task when the temperature outside is above 30 degrees. When the temperature drops lower, however, your home’s heat demand matches the production of your heat pump, requiring it to run continuously. This is known as the balance point.

If you tip past the balance point, your heat pump will supplement the heat it provides with back up electrical coils, similar to those found in a hairdryer. The heat pump is designed to only rely on those coils when necessary, which can prevent your energy bill from spiking too much when the weather gets chilly.

Your auxiliary heat relies on these coils, but they are very expensive to run. They are only turned on by your thermostat when needed to help the heat pump keep up with the demand. They are meant to supplement your heat pump, not replace it. So when your auxiliary heat comes on, your heat pump keeps running to maximize the cheaper heating form and prevent the heating coils form staying on any longer than they have to.

This can cause your home to remain a degree or two below your thermostat setting, but that doesn’t mean you need to suffer through the cold winter. Bumping up your thermostat setting a degree or two can push the heat pump to maintain your desired setting.

For example, if your thermostat is set to 72 degrees, but it’s only 70 degrees, you can change your thermostat setting to 74 degrees. This will trigger the auxiliary heat for a few moments, and help your heat pump get the temperature up to your desired level.

“But won’t turning up my heat raise my bills?” You may be asking. You are not wrong, but there is a way to enjoy a few degrees of heat without hurting your energy bill. Avoid cranking up your heat. If you raise it, raise it a degree or two at a time. Turning your heat up by more than a few degrees should not be done frequently. It may heat your home more quickly, but it is far more expensive to quickly raise the heat than to raise it slowly.

At Blazer Heating and Air, our team understand that it is important to save money and maintain a comfortable home. We believe there is no reason to sacrifice one for the other, either. Our Richmond heating professionals can help you keep your system in top shape and help you better understand how to maximize your heating system’s efficiency. Schedule a service to help your home’s heating system run at its best.

Contact our team at (804) 277-2458.