Not all heat pumps are created equal and given the harsh weather conditions in parts of New Zealand, it is important for landlords to be able to choose the most efficient and reliable model to install to keep their tenants and rental properties nice and warm. We speak to Gary
Felstead, Deputy General Manager of Sales at Daikin to find out more.
Q. In addition to the minimum kilowattage (which is determined by Tenancy Services’ heating assessment tool), what else should landlords consider when selecting the best heat pump to install in their rental properties?
Choosing a leading brand of A/C heat pump will ensure reliability and longevity over the lesser-known brands. The right heat pump will make a big difference
to both the energy consumption and experience of an environment. Reliability is a key concern in the context of the often harsh New Zealand climate,
that’s why Daikin insists on its units being built to a premium standard with strict quality control measures. Having the heat pump installed by an
approved and qualified installer will further ensure the system is implemented specifically and professionally to perform reliably and at its peak.
Another thing to consider when choosing a heat pump is one that is easy to maintain by the tenants as it will help with the longevity of a heat pump. At
a minimum, the air filters of the heat pump need to be cleaned and maintained regularly as any build-up of dust or dirt will restrict airflow and reduce
the energy efficiency and capacity of the system.
Energy efficiency is an important factor when purchasing a heat pump and this can be determined through the energy star rating. The more stars the heat
pump has, the more energy-efficient it is. It is also important to note that part of energy efficiency is having the right size heat pump for the area.
A heat pump that’s too small will require excessive energy to heat/cool. Too big, and you will pay more electricity than you should.
Choosing the right heat pump for the room depends on many factors such as room orientation, window size, and ceiling insulation just to name a few. A qualified
installer will assess all factors impacting the indoor temperature and influencing a home’s heat load. There are several different types of heat pumps
available on the market e.g. Hi-Wall or floor standing to suit a variety of applications. Apart from the difference in features, capacity range another
consideration is the appropriate location of the installation. If the room doesn’t have enough wall space for a Hi-Wall, a floor standing unit may
be considered instead.
Q. The Healthy Homes Standards requires heating to be provided for the main living area. In most rentals, that is the main living room. Where is the best place to install the heat pump?
Every home is different and where to install the heat pump depends entirely on the shape of the room and would be assessed by the installer so as not to
cause draughts or dead zones etc. The first consideration for placing any wall-mounted indoor unit is establishing where best the air can be distributed
evenly through the chosen room. For air to freely circulate, there should be no obstruction around the unit. Wall-mounted units are also best positioned
high on a wall that has suitable access for draining but at the same time not too close to the ceiling. It is also important to make sure the indoor
unit is easily accessible so that the filters and unit can be cleaned regularly and any manual adjustments (such as repositioning louvres) can be done
The location of installation should consider room entry and exit points. Installing the indoor unit in a corner of a room, across a hallway or in areas
where it will be affected by draughts from other rooms will have adverse effects on its performance. Another thing to consider is the potential furniture
layout. It is advisable not to have a heat pump too close to any area where people are sitting, such as directly facing a couch as the airflow may
be annoying after a period of time. Your installer should factor all of this in when deciding the location for installation.
Q. What are the benefits and trade-offs of installing ducted vs split system heat pump vs multi-split heat pump?
A ducted system is for the whole tenancy. They give a drier living space by keeping all the rooms at the same temperature and limit moisture levels (i.e. minimising the possibility of mould formation). A high-wall heat pump gives good localised control of a single room plus (maybe) some spill-over. What landlords need to be mindful of is that the spill-over would not be as effective as in the main living area. And you may be in a situation where top-ups in the form of other units or heat sources would be appropriate.
We have a very useful article on our website going into more details here.
Q. What are some of the ways users can maximise the efficiency of a heat pump?
It is more economical to keep a space warm than to heat up from cold. A ducted system works hard to get the whole property up to the set temperature and
a local area heat pump will use more energy to get the room up to the set temperature. I always suggest to people to leave the unit on the minimum
heat setting on a cold day to keep the home warm. For those customers with busy work lives, I also recommend a Wi-Fi compatible system so that the
heat pump can be controlled remotely.
Q. Has COVID affected the supply of heat pumps in New Zealand? If so, how is it affecting the 2021 market in terms of pricing and availability?
Like many other products manufactured overseas, Covid has had a massive impact on the supply of Heat Pumps into New Zealand. This is further complicated
by the rise in demand (people are travelling less and spending more on their homes) leading to a supply shortage across all major heat pump suppliers
in the latter half of 2020.
Demand is still trending up in 2021 and many manufacturers are still experiencing delays in manufacturing and shipping. All of these factors have an explicit
pricing implication for the end consumer definitely.
Q. How often should heat pumps be maintained? Can landlords/property managers do their own maintenance? What is involved?
Having your heat pump checked each year by a qualified service technician before the most extreme conditions of summer or winter set in is ideal for making
sure your system will perform at its best. You can expect a qualified service technician to carry out the following services; clean and disinfect the
indoor unit, check for blockages, check electrical terminals and connections, clean and inspect the outdoor unit for obstructions, check the flare
joints, coils and refrigerant pressures and inspect for the presence of pest infestations. In terms of self-maintenance, remembering to keep the air
filter clean and the outdoor unit free of leaves and debris is essential for ensuring the heat pump operates at full capacity throughout the peak seasons.
This article is proudly sponsored by Daikin NZ. Request a free quote for your next heat pump here.