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15 August 2023

Should you leave your heat pump on all the time?

Our Product Test ​Team Leader has some heated views on the subject.

It’s the question that divides households. Should you leave your heat pump running 24/7 or just put it on when you get home?

Image of a heat pump

James le Page, our Product Test ​Team Leader and heating expert, has the answer.

He says turn it off.

“You should only ever have your heat pump running if you’re at home. Heat pumps work rapidly once you turn them on, so don’t bother leaving them on when you’re not there,” James said.

His advice is to program your heat pump to come on before you come home from work or, if your day is a bit unpredictable, to just crank up the fan level when you get home to really get it working.

People who say heat pumps should stay on usually think the pump will use more power warming up a room than if it had just maintained the temperature during the day.

But James says that’s a myth. “They work so fast getting the room up to temperature that they don’t use that much power starting from scratch.”

His advice to turn your pump off does come with one exception though.

“For the few people who have a house that is super airtight – so with no gaps around doors and windows, insulation above building code requirements, double glazing, thermal drapes and a ventilation system – they might be able to leave their heat pump on all day every day,” James said.

“But for most of us in New Zealand, if we leave it on, we’ll be wasting a lot of energy on heat that will continuously leak out, as our heat pump works hard to maintain the set temperature.”

Check out our heat pump test results to:

  • find out which brand we have awarded our People's Choice
  • see the 48 heat pumps we recommend out of the 266 we’ve looked at
  • compare heat pumps on efficiency, noise and reliability
  • make sure the model you’re thinking of buying has the features you need.

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