Frequently Asked Questions

Please find below a selection of our most frequently asked questions. 

What is the difference between a ventilation system and a heat pump?

As the name suggests, a ventilation system is designed to ventilate - introduce fresh air into an area. When the introduced air is colder than inside they can use electric heaters to boost the temperature. The heating efficiency is therefore the same as an ordinary electric heater. Spend a $1 and get $1 worth of heat. Heat pumps transfer heat, not air, from outside into the home. They have do not need a heating element. A heat pump will return more than $3 worth of heat for every $1 you spend with a properly sized and installed heat pump. They also reverse to cool your home in summer. Fujitsu Ducted and Cassette heat pump systems are able to have connections providing fresh air ventilation.

Can heat pumps help with condensation?

Yes they can. Condensation is caused by warm moist air cooling and condensing. There are two ways to stop "crying windows". You can either remove the warm moist air (ventilation) or, you can stop it from cooling to the new "dew point" by heating it. The best option is to do both, but the problem is that in winter the fresh air (ventilation) can be very cold, and expensive to heat. Better to keep the area warm.

Will a heat pump dehumidify?

Yes. They will dehumidify in cooling mode, in summer. They will not "de-condensate" in heating mode (in winter). What they will do in winter is to keep your room (or house) above the dew point so condensation does not form. However, it is in summer when uncomfortable humidity occurs - and that's when you can switch your heat pump to cooling.

Will a heat pump heat my entire house?

A single outlet heat pump like a Hiwall or Console type is very unlikely to heat your whole house. Heat pumps are like powerful, very efficient fan heaters. A typical heat pump provides the same amount of heat as having three fan heaters lined up together, but only costs about the same as running a single fan heater. So if you can heat your house today from one heating position then you can probably do so with a heat pump. But typically, heat pumps are sized and installed to heat a single room or open area. To heat your whole house, you will probably need several heat pumps, or a multi head heat pump system or a ducted system.

Why is it recently that a single heat pump can heat or cool very large areas?

Because until just recently the bigger heat pumps needed three phase power, which is not available in most homes. Now, Fujitsu have single-phase Inverter technology for our heat pumps, which has allowed bigger capacity units to be capable of heating very large areas, see What size heat pump will I need for my home?.What size heat pump will I need for my home?Modern inverter heat pumps have a greater capacity for variations in the temperature. That is because they can increase or decrease their output. But there is obviously a limit. It takes almost twice as much energy to heat a house from 2 degrees to 20 degrees as from 7 degrees to 20 degrees. So if you want to make sure you are going to get heating in all situations the heat pump needs to be sized correctly.Size Matters - this statement is on all our product brochures. There are many methods used to size and select a heat pump, the results can be widely different causing unnecessary confusion. Fujitsu have decided to help fix this and release a software program that will produce an accurate and easy to read report allowing you to see exactly how your heat pump has been sized. Already in use by many of our product suppliers just ask for the EzeCalc report and be sure that your heat pump is correctly sized for your unique circumstances.

Why is this so important?

If the heat pump is incorrectly sized it will not work correctly to heat or cool your room and will cost you a lot more money than it should to run the appliance. It is very important to be sure your installer has selected a correctly sized unit, with EzeCalc this is easy.What is the "star rated" figure?Inverter heat pumps have a range of outputs depending upon the load put on them. The "star rated" figure is the point at which the unit is running at its most efficient. That is the running speed you want to have in your home for best efficiency. The efficiency drops as the running speed increases, such as when very cold or when first turned on to heat the room. It should then settle back to its rated speed for best efficiency. A big clue, which indicates you are running an undersized unit operating outside its best star rated position, is higher power consumption than expected. That means either get better insulation or a bigger unit.

What is "defrost"?

That is a complex issue, please read our What is Defrost brochure for an in-depth explaination.

Are heat pumps noisy?

No, most modern heat pumps are very quiet. The source of noise in a typical heat pump is the air passing over the grill, as it is blows through the unit. This sound is usually only marginally higher than ambient room noise. Fujitsu technology also developed a "quiet mode" on many models, which means that once the room has reached it's desired temperature, the sound is usually less than the sound of a soft whisper. We measure sound levels of all our heat pumps (in decibels) and they are clearly set out in the specs page on our brochures.Do heat pumps need maintenance?Like all things mechanical a heat pump which receives regular maintenance will perform better than a neglected one. That performance reduction is reflected in the cost to run and the output. The filter associated with the indoor unit should be cleaned to ensure a good airflow. This could require cleaning twice per year. In addition the outside unit should be kept clear from greenery, the coil clean from blockage. Further instructions relating to these requirements are in your user manual. A wise alternative is to arrange your installer to schedule an annual clean and maintenance check on the unit.

Do they need a drain?

Yes. The indoor unit on cooling will dehumidify and the resultant water needs to be led away. That is why they are typically mounted on an outside wall. If not, a condensate pump can be used to lift the water to the ceiling to be drained out. But sometimes condensate pumps can be heard when they operate. The outdoor unit when on heating will also produce water. The amount of water produced is similar to a dehumidifier in use.

How important is the good installation?

Installation is critical. Sizing and positioning and installation are very important to good operation. The units require connecting piping to be added plus professional wiring during installation. The piping can carry huge pressures, and needs a skilled Installer, or we can guarantee there will be problems later. There is a national shortage of skilled installers. Correct installation requires specialist tools with a combined worth of more than $5,000. Fujitsu Accredited Installers are your safeguard of sound, professional workmanship, although they are not employees or agents, they have at least shown us they have the tools and have contracted they will follow the installation instructions.

Where do I place the inside unit?

Positioning is important. Heat pumps are like big fan heaters and your installer should consider the airflow that will be created, along with the need to circulate the warm air. Consider the area that is to be heated so that air can circulate freely and not be short-circuited. For example a unit blowing across a hallway will not be as effective as one blowing along the length of the hallway.

Where do I place the outside unit?

The copper used in the connecting pipes and wiring is very expensive and so the shortest distance is the cheapest, but might not be aesthetically pleasing. Discuss with your installer the best place and the cheapest places and then decide. It is best to avoid positioning of the outdoor adjacent to your or your neighbours' bedrooms.Explanation of technical termsHeat pump - is a reverse cycle air conditioner. It pumps heat (not air) from outside to inside in winter and from inside to out in summer.COP - is the coefficient of performance. It is the ratio of power used for heat out. The higher the COP the better, more efficient the heat pump.Star rating - like COP the star rating is the result of testing to the standard. The higher the star rating, the more efficient (and therefore more economical) to run.Dba - is the unit measure for noise. There are two noises. Firstly, the inside unit containing just a fan. Logically when on high fan speed there will be more noise because there is more air flow but if sized correctly then once he room is up to temperature the unit should be able to maintain that on quiet mode (if available). 30 Dba is considered to be a whisper so quieter than that in quiet mode is good. The outside unit will be noisier than the inside because it has a compressor added to the fan noise.

Which type of heat pump should I choose?

Heat pump technology is so advanced these days, that choosing the best type to suit your needs can be confusing. So, to help simplify your decision, here's a checklist:

How many rooms do you want heated? You can buy a single heat pump to heat a single area or room, a "multi-system" to heat 2, 3 or 4 areas, or a fully ducted system if you wish to heat your whole home.
Split Systems - All modern heat pumps are split systems. That means they have an outdoor unit which contains the compressor, and an indoor unit which contains the fan that circulates the warm air (or cooled air in the summer) in your home. These units are designed to be discreet both in appearance and operation.Next, choose the indoor type and model that suits you best.

Here are the options:
Hi-Walls - These are the most popular models. These slim, elegant and whisper-quiet indoor units are mounted unobtrusively on a wall. They all offer advanced technology, including remote control, reverse cycle, sleep and digital timer, and moisture removal, and some offer additional features. The Fujitsu Premier series offers whisper quiet comfort, advanced Fujitsu energy efficiency, elegant looks, apple catechin filter (to absorb dust, mould spores and harmful micro-organisms), ion-deodorizing filter to absorb household odours. The Plasma models contains the brilliant plasma filter, advanced Fujitsu efficiency and all the latest technology of the Premier models. Exclusive to Fujitsu the Nocria models offer self cleaning filters.
Compact Floor Consoles - These floor-standing models are very compact, with a range of capacities, offering quiet, but powerful operation. These consoles look like a conventional gas or night storage heater - but don't behave like one! The compact model is only 60cm high and 74cm wide. They are also super quiet and surprisingly efficient, offering you the full range of capacities, with many additional features.
Multi Indoor - Just one outdoor unit can power up to four indoor units. The highly efficient, quiet way to heat or cool up to four different areas. The indoor unit selections are Hi-Wall, Console, Cassette or Bulkhead models to choose from. Making it easier to heat or air condition most homes in New Zealand.
Ducted Systems - These luxury systems heat or cool your whole home. Air is distributed via insulated ducting connected to ceiling outlets. Ducting is the ultimate invisible solution for year-round comfort.

 

Do heat pumps take up a lot of room?

Today's heat pumps are unobtrusive in size and style, with low noise levels. There are various types. Some can be recessed into walls, Hiwalls are mounted on walls close to the ceiling, floor consoles look like traditional heaters, and some can be recessed into walls. Cassettes and Ducted split systems can be hidden in the ceiling.

How big is the outdoor unit and where does it go?

Outdoor units vary in size, but most are about the size of a large suitcase. The outdoor unit is located in a position that is unobtrusive, and where it is easiest to run pipe work between the indoor and outdoor units. You accredited Installer will suggest the best location for it.

How much will it cost to buy and install a heat pump?

The cost of a heat pump is different for each home and will depend on the size and type of heat pump, and how easy it is to install. A Hi-wall Inverter single system, suitable for a small area or bedroom, starts at around $2,500 for a 3kW unit including installation. Larger capacity models - say, between 5kW and 9kW costs between $3,200 and $4,800 including GST and installation. Some local governments are offering financial assistance if you are replacing an open fire or a solid fuel burner. Your Fujitsu Accredited Installer will advise if this is possible in your area.

Are heat pumps expensive to run?

The price of power in New Zealand is rising at an alarming rate (more than 50% in five years). This accounts for the growth of heat pumps for heating, because they use significantly less power to heat than all traditional electric heaters.Here's why: if you need 9Kw of heating, electric heating is normally 100% efficient, so for 9Kw of heating you pay for 9Kw of electric energy. Heat pumps transfer three to four times more heat, meaning efficiencies of 300-400%. In other words, to produce 9kW of heating, a heat pump would only require about 2.25kW-to-3kW of electrical energy to heat the same area.

Why are heat pumps much cheaper heaters?

A heat pump simply "transfers" heat from the atmosphere outside, to inside your home. All other heaters use an element (electricity) or naked flame (gas, open fires) to "convert" energy to heat. The only energy a heat pump needs is the electricity to drive the fans and compressor. The result is up to 4 times less energy needed, saving your heating bill, and the environment too.

How reliable are heat pumps?

Heat pumps are very reliable - as trouble free as a fridge or freezer. However, should anything ever go wrong, we offer New Zealand's longest warranty - 6 years full parts and labour warranty in fact - when you use a Fujitsu Accredited Installer.

How do I operate my heat pump?

Heat pumps are operated with an infrared remote that lets you control features such as On/Off, the temperature, fan speeds, timers, and the mode (such as "heat" and "cool"). Heat pump remotes also allow you to programme them to turn on when you're away from home, or overnight, ensuring a warm or cool room on your return, or when you wake up in the morning!

How long do they take to install?

A Fujitsu accredited installer will usually take around 5 to 6 hours to install a straightforward (back-to-back) system. More complex installations including multi - systems and ducted systems can take longer.

Can a heat pump increase my power bill?

A heat pump uses approximately 33% less power than any other electric heater to achieve the same result. Most heat pumps, even the small ones, provide a lot of heat. For example, the maximum heat a plug-in fan heater can supply is 2300 watts, whilst the smallest Fujitsu heat pump will supply 3600 watts (56% more heat), but the Fujitsu will still cost 50% less to run. As a result, instead of "huddling over a heater", it is possible to enjoy a better quality of life at home by allowing the whole living area to be warm and comfortable, rather than just a corner of the room. So a heat pump user may take advantage of the cheaper, more efficient heat by using more of it, to improve their home lifestyle, see What size heat pump will I need for my home?.

end faq

 

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