Hamilton Heat Pump Survival Guide For The Chilly Months

As winter draws near, residents of Hamilton begin to turn their attention to heating solutions that can keep their homes warm and comfortable through the chilly months. Among these solutions, the heat pump stands out for its efficiency and eco-friendliness.

However, despite its merits, navigating the complexities of using a heat pump effectively during Hamilton’s winter can be daunting. This guide is designed to demystify this process, ensuring that your heat pump operates at its best when you need it the most.

Heat Pumps and Hamilton’s Climate

Why Hamilton’s Climate Poses Unique Challenges for Heat Pumps

Hamilton’s climate is unique and can significantly impact the performance of heat pumps. Understanding these challenges is crucial for optimizing your heat pump’s efficiency during the colder months.

  1. Variable Temperature Extremes: Hamilton experiences a range of temperatures throughout the year, requiring a heat pump system that is adaptable to both mild winters and hot summers. The efficiency of heat pumps, especially air-source types, can be compromised in very cold climates 8.
  2. Cold Climate Adaptation: Heat pumps in Hamilton are designed to thrive even during the coldest months. They function by extracting warmth from the cold outdoor air and transferring it indoors. This process is vital for maintaining comfortable indoor temperatures when the outside temperature drops significantly 5.
  3. Installation Challenges: Proper installation is key to maximizing heat pump efficiency. In Hamilton, the placement of the outdoor unit should be considered to minimize exposure to extreme cold, which helps maintain operational efficiency 4. Moreover, choosing the right size of the heat pump based on local climate conditions is essential as it affects the overall performance and energy consumption 8.
  4. Maintenance for Peak Performance: Regular maintenance is necessary to prevent potential malfunctions during critical times. Routine checks ensure that the heat pump is always ready to perform efficiently, regardless of the weather conditions 4.

Challenges Faced During Winter

Heat Pump Efficiency in Cold Temperatures

During the coldest months, the efficiency of heat pumps can significantly decline as the outside air contains less thermal energy, making it harder for the system to extract heat 11. This drop in efficiency is due to the refrigeration cycle, where the refrigerant transitions between liquid and gas states, absorbing and releasing heat.

The colder the air, the more the heat pump must work, impacting its Coefficient of Performance (COP) 11. At temperatures around 5°C or lower, the heat pumps’ ability to absorb and release heat diminishes, leading to increased electrical power consumption 12.

Ice Formation and Defrost Cycles

A common issue during winter is the formation of ice on the heat pump’s coils. This occurs as the coils are colder than the surrounding air, causing condensation that freezes 14. To combat this, heat pumps are equipped with a defrost mode that temporarily reverses the heating process to melt away frost, although this can decrease overall heating efficiency as energy is diverted from heating your home to defrosting the unit 11.

If the defrost mode fails to remove the ice within a reasonable time, it could signal a need for professional intervention to prevent damage to your unit 14. Give us a call on 0800 864 964.

Impact of Extreme Weather Conditions on Performance

Extreme cold presents specific challenges for heat pumps. Frequent defrost cycles are necessary to prevent ice buildup, but these can reduce heating efficiency 11. Additionally, auxiliary heating elements may activate when temperatures drop below a certain point, leading to higher energy costs as these elements are less efficient than the heat pump’s normal operation 11.

In very low temperatures, frost can accumulate over the exterior coil, further reducing efficiency. This issue can be mitigated by incorporating a small electric heater into the system, though this solution brings additional upfront costs and increased electricity usage 12.

Optimizing Heat Pump Settings for Winter Efficiency

Ideal Temperature Settings

To maximize the efficiency of your heat pump during the winter months in Hamilton, it’s beneficial to adjust the temperature settings appropriately.

You should set your heat pump to a comfortable range of 18-22 degrees Celsius during the day 1.

This temperature range is optimal for maintaining a cosy environment without overburdening the heat pump, leading to energy savings and reduced wear on the system 1920212324.

For nighttime, when the demand for heating is lower as you sleep, setting the temperature to around 16-18 degrees Celsius is recommended 1920212324. This adjustment ensures that you remain comfortable and that the heat pump operates more cost-effectively, avoiding unnecessary energy consumption when it’s not needed 1920212324.

Utilizing Timer Functions

Using the timer functions on your heat pump can significantly enhance its efficiency by ensuring that it operates only when needed.

Set the timer to activate the heat pump about 15 minutes before you wake up or before you return home.

This way, you won’t have to keep the heat pump running all day, which can lead to substantial energy savings 212223.

For those with a more flexible schedule or varying daily routines, utilising a programmable timer or a smart Wi-Fi controlled heat pump can be particularly beneficial. These devices allow you to control your heat pump remotely and set multiple on/off periods throughout the day according to your needs 222324.

For instance, you can program the heat pump to turn on in the early morning, switch off when you leave for work, and reactivate in time for your return, ensuring your home is always warm when needed without wasting energy heating an empty house 222324.

By implementing these settings and utilising the advanced functions of your heat pump, you can enjoy a warm and comfortable home in Hamilton during the winter while optimising energy use and minimising costs.

Addressing Common Winter Issues with Heat Pumps

Frozen Coils and How to Prevent Them

During the winter months, it’s common for the coils of your heat pump to freeze due to the refrigerant condensing when it comes into contact with the cold outdoor coil 2526. This can be concerning, but understanding the defrost cycle can help you manage this issue effectively.

Heat pumps are equipped with a defrost cycle that activates automatically when the sensors detect frost build-up, running for about 10 minutes to melt the ice 2627. To prevent excessive ice formation, ensure that the area around your heat pump is clear of snow and debris to maintain good airflow 30.

Regularly check that the gutters above are not dripping onto the unit, as this can exacerbate freezing 27.

Strategies for Even Heat Distribution

To ensure your home remains warm throughout, adjusting the fan speed and direction of your heat pump is crucial. Increasing the fan speed helps move more heated air throughout your home, pushing it further into the room 30.

Directing the warm air downwards across the floor can help it rise naturally, warming the entire space more effectively 28. Utilizing the auto fan setting generally works well, but during colder nights, a higher fan speed can keep your home comfortable while you sleep 30.

Remember to keep furniture or other large objects away from the heat pump’s air vents to prevent blockages that can restrict airflow and reduce heating efficiency 25.

Looking for a heat pump? Check out our specials!

Financial Considerations

Cost Analysis of Running a Heat Pump in Winter vs. Other Heating Methods

When considering the financial implications of using a heat pump in Hamilton during the winter, it’s important to compare its running costs to other heating methods. Heat pumps are known for their energy efficiency, particularly in variable climates like Hamilton’s.

For instance, a heat pump with a Coefficient of Performance (CoP) of 4 means that for every kilowatt of power consumed, up to 4 kilowatts of heating or cooling energy is produced 32. In contrast, traditional heating methods such as electric bar heaters and gas heating offer lower CoPs, meaning they are less energy-efficient and more costly to run.

Specifically, an electric bar heater typically has a CoP of 1, and gas heating has a CoP of approximately 0.85 32.

Potential Savings and Return on Investment Over Time

Investing in a heat pump can lead to significant savings over time. Despite the initial cost, which may range from $1,500 to $3,500 excluding installation 34, the operational savings can be substantial. Running a heat pump costs between 3 to 16 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of heat produced in winter, which is considerably lower than the 19 to 40 cents per unit of heat from a traditional electric heater 35.

Using a heat pump instead of other heating solutions could save you around $500 annually 34. Over the years, these savings can offset the upfront costs and contribute to a favourable return on investment.

Utilising your heat pump efficiently also plays a crucial role in maximising savings. For example, setting your heat pump between 19 and 21 degrees Celsius can save up to $320 per year compared to higher temperature settings, which consume more power and increase costs 36.

Using programmable timers to control when the heat pump operates can further reduce costs by ensuring the system runs only when necessary 35.

Optimizing Heat Pump Efficiency in Hamilton

The Importance of Correct Sizing and Installation

Choosing the right heat pump size and ensuring proper installation are critical for optimal performance, especially in Hamilton’s varied climate. A heat pump that’s too small will struggle to maintain the desired temperature and consume more energy, while a unit that’s too large will cycle on and off too frequently, reducing efficiency and increasing wear 4041.

Proper placement of the outdoor unit is also crucial; it should have good airflow, receive as much winter sun as possible, and be protected from frost and elements like sea spray that could cause corrosion 40.

Tips for Reducing Energy Consumption

  1. Regular Maintenance: Clean both the indoor and outdoor filters of your heat pump at least once a year. A clean system runs more efficiently and uses less energy 4344.
  2. Zone Heating: Only heat the spaces you are using. Heating unoccupied rooms wastes energy. Close doors and curtains to keep the heat in, enhancing the efficiency of your heat pump 43.
  3. Smart Controls: Consider investing in a Smart WiFi-controlled heat pump, which allows you to adjust settings remotely. This enables you to turn the heat on just before you arrive home, ensuring comfort while saving energy 4344.

By following these guidelines, you can optimize the performance of your heat pump in Hamilton, ensuring it provides efficient, cost-effective heating throughout the winter months.

Maintenance Tips for Winterizing Your Heat Pump

Regular Cleaning and Servicing

To ensure your heat pump operates efficiently throughout the winter, it’s crucial to have it serviced by a professional technician. This regular maintenance helps to keep it running smoothly and improves its efficiency 50.

During the service, the technician will clean the unit, check all connections, and lubricate mechanical components. They will also inspect for any signs of wear and inform you of any necessary repairs 46. This proactive approach not only enhances the performance of your heat pump but also extends its lifespan, providing financial benefits over time 46.

Additionally, you should clean or replace the air filters regularly. Over time, dust and debris can accumulate, restricting airflow and reducing the unit’s performance. Clean air filters are essential for maintaining efficient operation and improving indoor air quality 50.

It’s recommended to check your filter every few weeks and replace it if it appears dirty 46.

Checking Insulation and Sealing Leaks

Proper insulation and air sealing are critical for maximizing the efficiency of your heat pump. Insulating your walls, floors, and ceiling minimizes heat loss, creating a more comfortable indoor environment and reducing the reliance on your heat pump, which leads to energy savings 50.

Proper air sealing and attic insulation significantly reduce the energy loss that occurs due to air leaks. This can allow you to install a smaller sized unit, saving money on installation and reducing monthly energy costs 49.

Inspect your home for drafts and air leaks, particularly around windows, doors, and other potential areas. Use weatherstripping or caulking to seal gaps and cracks, preventing warm air from escaping and cold air from entering.

This not only helps your heat pump work more efficiently but also reduces energy waste and lowers your heating costs 50. Moreover, ensuring that your home is well-sealed provides an added layer of protection against external pollutants, helping your family breathe easier 49.


Through this guide, we’ve explored how to best utilize heat pumps during Hamilton’s chilly months, highlighting the importance of understanding Hamilton’s unique climate, optimizing settings for winter efficiency, addressing common winter issues, and acknowledging the financial benefits of heat pumps. These insights provide Hamilton homeowners with the knowledge to ensure their heat pumps operate efficiently, offering a warming solution that is both cost-effective and eco-friendly.

Taking steps such as proper maintenance, smart utilization of heating settings, and understanding the financial aspects of heat pump usage can significantly enhance your home’s warmth without incurring excessive costs. As we’ve discussed, thorough preparation and informed practices are key to maximizing the benefits of your heat pump, making your winter experience in Hamilton more comfortable and sustainable.


Goldstar Heat Pumps is committed to providing exceptional heat pump installation services in Hamilton, New Zealand. By considering factors such as home size and layout, climate and weather conditions, types of heat pumps, installation and maintenance costs. And energy efficiency, you can make an informed decision about the best heat pump for your home.

Our team of experienced technicians will guide you through the entire installation process. Ensuring that your heat pump is installed correctly and meets your heating and cooling needs. With regular maintenance and proper usage. Your heat pump system will provide reliable comfort, energy efficiency, and cost savings for years to come.

Contact Goldstar Heat Pumps today to schedule a consultation. And take the first step towards an efficient and affordable heat pump installation in your Hamilton home.

Phone 0800 864 964

or email admin@goldstarheatpumps.co.nz


[1] – https://nzheatpumpsltd.co.nz/should-you-leave-your-heat-pump-on-all-night/
[2] – https://www.goldstarheatpumps.co.nz/heat-pump-installation-hamilton-informative-guide/
[3] – https://www.genesisenergy.co.nz/tips-and-tricks/articles/use-your-heat-pump-efficiently-this-winter
[4] – https://nzheatpumpsltd.co.nz/can-heat-pumps-work-in-extreme-cold/
[5] – https://hamiltonhomecomfort.com/efficient-heat-pump-systems-for-hamiltons-cold-weather-conditions/
[6] – https://nzheatpumpsltd.co.nz/how-much-power-does-a-heat-pump-take/
[7] – https://nzheatpumpsltd.co.nz/heat-pump-efficiency-in-extreme-temperatures/
[8] – https://www.goldstarheatpumps.co.nz/common-problems-with-heat-pump-installation-and-how-to-avoid-them/
[9] – https://www.hamiltonmonitor.com/post/the-urgent-need-to-address-hamilton-s-extreme-heat
[10] – https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2023/03/do-heat-pumps-work-in-cold-places-heres-what-you-need-to-know/
[11] – https://gopaschal.com/how-cold-weather-affects-heat-pumps-understanding-extreme-weather-impact-on-your-home-comfort/
[12] – https://undecidedmf.com/the-truth-about-heat-pumps-and-cold-weather/
[13] – https://www.heatandcool.co.nz/faqs/heat-pump-ice-coil-pipes/
[14] – https://fourseasonsheatair.com/help-guides/why-is-my-heat-pump-covered-in-ice
[15] – https://www.airproductsinc.com/blog/2022/12/frozen-heat-pumps-in-winter-what-can-you-do-about-them/
[16] – https://nzheatpumpsltd.co.nz/heat-pump-efficiency-in-extreme-temperatures/
[17] – https://nzheatpumpsltd.co.nz/can-heat-pumps-work-in-extreme-cold/
[18] – https://hamiltonhomecomfort.com/efficient-heat-pump-systems-for-hamiltons-cold-weather-conditions/
[19] – https://www.genesisenergy.co.nz/tips-and-tricks/articles/use-your-heat-pump-efficiently-this-winter
[20] – https://rinnai.co.nz/blog/home-heating/how-to-get-the-best-from-your-heat-pump
[21] – https://www.heatandcool.co.nz/faqs/temperature-run-heat-pump/
[22] – https://mhiheatpumps.co.nz/using-your-heat-pump-timers/
[23] – https://www.genesisenergy.co.nz/tips-and-tricks/articles/use-your-heat-pump-efficiently-this-winter
[24] – https://www.heatandcool.co.nz/get-the-most-out-of-your-heat-pump/
[25] – https://sprsunheatpump.com/why-is-my-heat-pump-freezing-up-in-the-winter.html
[26] – https://www.airproductsinc.com/blog/2022/12/frozen-heat-pumps-in-winter-what-can-you-do-about-them/
[27] – https://beltwayhvac.com/how-to-prevent-your-heat-pump-from-freezing-in-winter/
[28] – https://www.genesisenergy.co.nz/tips-and-tricks/articles/use-your-heat-pump-efficiently-this-winter
[29] – https://rinnai.co.nz/blog/home-heating/how-to-get-the-best-from-your-heat-pump
[30] – https://akheatsmart.org/heat-pumps/using-heat-pumps-in-cold-climates/
[31] – https://nzheatpumpsltd.co.nz/understanding-the-power-usage-of-heat-pumps-insights-for-hamilton-new-zealand/
[32] – https://www.avsnz.co.nz/blog/cost-of-heat-pumps
[33] – https://www.moneyhub.co.nz/heat-pumps-hamilton.html
[34] – https://www.genesisenergy.co.nz/tips-and-tricks/articles/use-your-heat-pump-efficiently-this-winter
[35] – https://rinnai.co.nz/blog/home-heating/how-much-does-a-heat-pump-cost-to-run
[36] – https://www.consumer.org.nz/articles/save500-supporting-evidence
[37] – https://www.goldstarheatpumps.co.nz/heat-pump-installation-hamilton-informative-guide/
[38] – https://www.eeca.govt.nz/assets/EECA-Resources/Good-Parctice-Guide-Heat-Pump-Installation-March-2022.pdf
[39] – https://nzheatpumpsltd.co.nz/everything-you-need-to-know-about-heat-pump-installation-a-comprehensive-guide-2024/
[40] – https://www.genesisenergy.co.nz/tips-and-tricks/articles/use-your-heat-pump-efficiently-this-winter
[41] – https://rinnai.co.nz/blog/home-heating/how-to-get-the-best-from-your-heat-pump
[42] – https://www.ecodesignadvisor.org.nz/resources/heat-pumps-run-effectively/
[43] – https://www.genesisenergy.co.nz/tips-and-tricks/articles/use-your-heat-pump-efficiently-this-winter
[44] – https://rinnai.co.nz/blog/home-heating/how-to-get-the-best-from-your-heat-pump
[45] – https://www.theheatpumppeople.co.nz/slash-your-winter-expenses-embrace-the-efficiency-of-an-energy-saving-heat-pump
[46] – https://www.durastar.com/winter-checklist-for-heat-pumps/
[47] – https://oeconline.org/checklist-heat-pump-maintenance/
[48] – https://www.trane.com/residential/en/resources/maintenance-tips/heat-pumps/
[49] – https://www.homeefficiencyexperts.com/2023/09/26/why-its-smart-to-re-insulate-your-home-before-installing-a-heat-pump/
[50] – https://www.heatandcool.co.nz/how-to-prepare-your-home-and-heat-pump-for-the-winter-months/
[52] – https://nzheatpumpsltd.co.nz/are-heat-pumps-efficient/
[53] – https://www.genesisenergy.co.nz/tips-and-tricks/articles/use-your-heat-pump-efficiently-this-winter
[54] – https://nzheatpumpsltd.co.nz/can-heat-pumps-work-in-extreme-cold/