Tips & FAQs

If you’re after any information at all about our heat pumps – how they perform, where they should be located, the right size for your place, how much you’ll pay…anything at all, this is a great place to start. Our FAQ page is constantly being refreshed and expanded with expert advice, helpful tips, and lots of other things you want to know about the best heating and cooling options in New Zealand. Check in often to stay up to date with the very latest about the incredible technology we’re so proud to supply and install.

And if you can’t find the information that you’re looking for on this page, then we’ll give you the answers ourselves! We’re experts in the field of heat pumps for residential and commercial premises, and we want to help you buy the right product for your specific requirements. So we are always available via email or phone to answer your queries. Take advantage of our unrivalled knowledge to make the best possible investment – don’t be afraid to get in touch.

  • Is it more efficient to leave heat pumps on 24/7 or turn them on when required?

    As a rule of thumb, we think it’s best to use your heat pump as required. Ultimately, it depends on how well your house is insulated. If you live in a near-new and air-tight house with no draughts, insulation that exceeds the building code, double glazing and thermal drapes, and a true heat exchanger ventilation system so you never need to open windows, it could be more efficient to leave the heat pump on all day, every day.

    However, on the other hand, too many New Zealand houses are poorly insulated with gaps and cracks from which heat easily escapes. This leads us to believe that running a heat pump 24/7 will be wasteful. As an example, in a draughty and uninsulated Victorian villa, you’re wasting energy by moving heat into your house and then letting it escape back to the outside air. The heat pump’s external unit will simply take that heat back out of the air and pump it in again. In a house like this, we advise using the timer to start the heat pump an hour or so before it’s required. When you don’t need it, turn it off. Once you’ve done that, upgrade your insulation to reduce heat loss!

  • Why does my heat pump stop heating when it’s frosty?

    The short answer is that your heat pump is defrosting. The long answer is more complicated. You’ll often see ice form on the evaporator panel in your fridge because it’s a very cold panel in a cool “climate”. Something similar happens on your heat pump’s external unit. On a cold night when temperatures plummet, the air loses its ability to hold water and relative humidity rises. Eventually, the air temperature falls to the dew point, where relative humidity has risen to 100 % and excess water can’t stay in the air any longer. This water is what we know as dew, and it condenses onto everything not under shelter. If the air cools further, to zero or below, frost forms. Your heat pump’s outside evaporator panel is out there in that dewy air, being kept very cold so it can pull heat out of the air. Ice inevitably forms on the panel, and as the ice thickens, it acts as an insulator, limiting the amount of heat that can be extracted. The heat pump senses this and changes to a defrost cycle. While defrosting it won’t deliver heat and this is why we think all heat pumps sold in New Zealand should be tested at 2°C in air that is at the dew point. We also say it should be mandatory to have the tested heat output at 2°C on the energy rating label. Fortunately, later model heat pumps are much more efficient in icy-cold conditions. 

  • What to do when a heat pump becomes too noisy?

    When a heat pump becomes too loud, you should check the airflow and clear any obstructions. Clean or replace the air filters and tighten any loose components. Lubricate moving parts and inspect the fan blades for damage. If the noise persists, contact Fonko for us to inspect the unit and perform any necessary repairs. Regular maintenance is essential to prevent noise issues and ensure the heat pump’s optimal performance.

  • Are heat pumps the most energy-efficient source of heating in NZ?

    Heat pumps are considered one of the most energy-efficient sources of heating in New Zealand. They are designed to transfer heat rather than generate it, making them more efficient than traditional heating systems like electric resistance heaters or gas furnaces. Heat pumps use electricity to extract heat from the outdoor air, ground, or water sources and transfer it indoors. The overall energy efficiency of your heat pump is influenced by the size and insulation of the building, the climate, and how the heat pump is used and maintained.

  • How do you calculate the size of a heat pump in NZ?

    Fonko’s range of heat pumps comes in various shapes and sizes. Each style suits different requirements and sizes of properties, both commercial and residential. Consult with a Fonko professional today to choose an appropriately sized heat pump for your space in order to ensure optimal energy efficiency.

  • What are the healthy homes standards and do I need to install a heat pump to comply?

    The Healthy Homes Standards are a set of regulations implemented by the New Zealand government to improve the quality and safety of rental properties. All rental properties must have a fixed heating device capable of maintaining a minimum temperature of 18 degrees Celsius in the main living area, making heat pumps a perfect appliance to comply with.

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