Each home connected to the Community Energy System (CES) is equipped with a water source heat pump, generally located in a separate mechanical area within the home. This electrical appliance, owned by SSL, provides the thermal energy needed for space heating or cooling. The heat pump operates by converting the temperature differential provided by the CES into either heating or cooling for the home. Note that the heat pump does use some electricity to deliver thermal energy to the home.
- Avoid leaving windows and doors open during colder times of the year. Even an open door from the main residence into an unheated garage can be a major source of heat loss.
- Open blinds on a sunny day to gain passive heat. Close them again at dusk for insulation.
- Feel free to close doors and vents for rooms that don’t need heating (e.g. a spare bedroom); but don’t close or block (e.g. with furniture) the vents or cold air returns in occupied rooms.
One of the benefits of owning a home at Westhills is that your heat pump is able to provide centralized cooling. If you have ever owned a home with air conditioning, you are likely aware that this feature can use additional energy during the warmer summer months – this also applies to your energy service with SSL. While we always encourage homeowners to program their thermostat to the most comfortable settings, here are some tips to help moderate your level of community energy usage during the summer:
- Program your thermostat’s Cooling set-point to the highest comfortable temperature: We recommend somewhere between 24°C and 26°C
- Close all windows and blinds during the day time to minimize solar heating in the summer. Open windows and blinds again in the evening when the outside air temperature drops to help release warm air from your house.
- Turn your thermostat’s System Setting to OFF or HEAT if you’re away from home all day (e.g. at work or on vacation). You can always change it back to AUTO or COOL when you return. This is not advisable during the colder months because it may bring on your backup auxiliary heater, but it can save you energy during the summer by avoiding daytime air conditioning when the home is empty.
- Adjust your fan setting to ON or CIRC (instead of AUTO) to better circulate air within your home. This will help provide more even temperatures between different floors or rooms (e.g. if you have an upstairs bedroom that tends to get warmer than your main floor).
- During the shoulder seasons of spring and fall, there may be both heating and cooling required depending on the weather.
If you plan to be away from home for more than 3 weeks, you may want to contact us. Depending on the time of year and the duration of your absence, there may be a more energy efficient setting for your system.
Your system is designed to maintain a constant temperature throughout the entire home:
- Temperature settings are controlled by your home’s central thermostat. To maximize energy efficiency we recommend that you program your thermostat to maintain a single temperature – try not to increase temperature settings by more than 1.5°C at a time.
- Although your thermostat can be programmed around daily schedules, in most cases it is best to set it to one permanent temperature – ideally between 19°C and 21°C.
- During colder seasons you can program your SYSTEM setting to ‘HEAT’ instead of ‘AUTO’ – this will disable your heat pump’s air conditioning feature during the colder part of the year.
- If you are leaving for the day (e.g. going to work), or planning to be away from home for a few days, we DO NOT recommend turning your System to ‘OFF’ or turning down the temperature setting by more than 5°C. It is usually more energy efficient to maintain a normal room temperature during these brief periods of absence. Otherwise the system will have to work extra hard to bring your house back up to temperature when you return.
- If you plan to be away for more than 3 weeks, you may want to contact us. Depending on the time of year and duration of your absence, there might be a more energy efficient setting for your system.
Your system is equipped with a 5 kW back-up (auxiliary) electric heater:
- The auxiliary heater is designed to augment your primary heat pump during extreme cold, or to provide emergency heating if your heat pump fails. It is not designed to be the sole source of heat for your home.
- Whenever your auxiliary heater is running, the “Aux Heat On” indicator will appear on your thermostat screen along with a red light in the top-right corner of the thermostat case.
- Auxiliary heat will also be activated anytime your thermostat calls for an immediate increase in temperature of 2°C or more.
- If you notice your auxiliary heat running frequently (longer than 30 minutes at a time, multiple times per day), or if your auxiliary heat is running but the room temperature does not match your thermostat setting, please contact us immediately.