Hot tips for running your heat pump this winter

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If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, keeping the inside of your home extra toasty whilst it’s cold is a must. As it gets colder, any heating system (fossil fuel powered or otherwise) has to work harder to keep you warm. So while it’s particularly chilly, we want to help you to get the best out of your heat pump.

How efficient is my heat pump in cold weather?

Heat pumps are still vastly more energy efficient than gas boilers – even when it’s cold.

But as with any heating system, the colder the weather is outside, the more energy you will use to keep the house warm. We’ll always account for this extra usage in your energy cost estimate.

What you can do:

  • If you feel like being flexible with your usage, switch to a smart tariff like the new Cosy Octopus. Designed to save you money when you shift your heat pump usage to off-peak times throughout the winter. Find out more.
  • Set the hot water temperature to 48 degrees. If it is set higher, this can cause the booster ‘immersion’ heater to kick in and could cost more to heat the water.

Why is there steam coming from my Heat Pump?

As the weather gets colder but the air remains humid, the heat pump will carry out a routine defrost cycle periodically. Whilst the defrost cycle is running you may notice plumes of water vapour coming from the heat pump. This is perfectly normal and nothing to be concerned about. 

During this cycle the radiators may cool off slightly. They will rise in temperature soon after the cycle is completed which typically lasts for around 10 minutes. 

Is it right for my room temperatures to be lower than usual?

If it gets really cold outside, you may feel the rooms cool off by a degree or so. During this period it’s recommended that you keep your heating on constantly and avoid letting the internal temperature drop too much overnight. 

What you can do:

  • We recommend setting the set-back temperature at 2 degrees below what you’d like in the morning. For example, if you like the room temperature to be 20 degrees we would advise to have the set-back temperature or ‘off’ temperature set to 18 degrees. 
  • This reduces the amount of work the heat pump has to do in order to raise the room temperatures again in the morning. You can turn rooms down such as bedrooms overnight using the radiator valve or thermostat whilst keeping the other rooms in the house warm if required. 

Is the cold snap coming to an end?

It’s fairly unusual to see the kind of temperatures we’ve experienced recently. England recorded its coldest temperature yet this year on Monday night with the highest recorded temperature in Braemar, Aberdeenshire, of -9.3C (15.2F)  - the coldest day in the UK since December 2010! But the cold snap is due to end later on Sunday, with double digits forecast in some areas.

From all of the Octopus team, we wish you a cosy holiday period, and a Happy New Year!

Published on 17th December 2022 by:

image of Becky Boulton

Becky Boulton

Green Hero

Hey I'm Constantine, welcome to Octopus Energy!