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Is It Best to Leave a Heat Pump Running All Night?

We’ve discussed before on this blog some of the more effective ways to use your home’s heating and cooling system so that you enjoy comfort all through the day and night without excessive energy waste. In this post, we’ll look at a question that people who use heat pumps during the winter to warm their homes often ask: “Should I leave the heat pump running at night?” If you’ve asked this question to non-professionals, you’ll likely hear different answers. We’ll get to the bottom of what the best practices are.

In general, you shouldn’t leave a heat pump on all night

Heat pumps are highly efficient comfort devices. This is one of their major appeals, and why homeowners often choose a heat pump as their primary source for heat during the winter. (Compared to an electric furnace, a heat pump is a huge money-saver.) However, this efficiency leads to the misunderstanding that it’s more efficient to keep them operating all through the night.

If you live in a home with effective insulation, it will take a few hours at night for the temperature to drop after you shut off the heating. The heat pump won’t need to turn on for this time to heat up the house, so there isn’t much point having it on at all. If the house has poor insulation, the temperature will drop faster, but the heat pump will produce heat that simply flees outside and goes to waste. You’re simply better off with the heat pump turned off at night and thick covers on your bed.

A programmable thermostat provides a middle ground

This is where a programmable thermostat comes in extremely handy, because you can achieve a middle ground between “heat pump on all night” and “heat pump off all night.” Program a set-back temperature for the heat pump at night (8° to 10° cooler than during the day), so it will only come in cases of extremely low heat. Set the thermostat to turn the heat pump back up to a warmer temperature about a half hour before you plan to wake up; that way, you can start the day with a warm home.

Call Comfort Flow Heating in Eugene, OR for help with heat pumps or installation of programmable thermostat.

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