Heat pumps can provide an efficient method of warming your home, but as with any HVAC system they require routine maintenance to remain operational.
Keep snow, ice, overgrown plants and yard debris clear of your unit at all times of year to reduce malfunctioning and conserve energy use. Here are a few simple yet effective strategies that you can follow to do just that.
1. Change the Filter
Heat pump air filters don’t just collect particles – they also help improve indoor air quality (IAQ). They block a significant amount of dust, dirt, pet dander, bacteria and viruses from circulating through your home – offering relief to those suffering from allergies, asthma or upper respiratory problems.
Be mindful that outdoor units also need to be kept tidy. Make sure they’re not sitting beneath leaking gutters during winter as this could allow water to run off onto them and freeze solid, restricting airflow. Furthermore, ensure snow and debris isn’t piling up around it and check filters monthly and replace when necessary – this simple maintenance task can greatly lower energy costs throughout winter! Additionally, hiring professional services twice annually for an inspection would also be prudent.
2. Clean the Condensate Drain
Having a clogged drain line prevents your heat pump from extracting all of the moisture produced during its operation and leads to mold and mildew growth in your home.
At each maintenance visit, your technician will check on the condensate drain line to make sure it’s undamaged and unblocked. If it becomes blocked due to any reason, he or she can use a drain snake to clear it away.
Pouring bleach down an access opening near your indoor air conditioning unit can also help clear clogged drain lines, killing any algae, mold or mildew that has accumulated in it and keeping it from blocking up your drain line. If there’s water pooling below your heat pump this indicates it may have become blocked up – probably from bacteria being washed into it from outside sources.
3. Clean the Ductwork
Heat pumps offer the best of both worlds, heating your home in winter while simultaneously cooling it in summer. But just like traditional furnaces and air conditioners, heat pumps require regular maintenance and cleaning for maximum efficiency and to avoid running inefficiently and costing money. Dirty ductwork could impede its performance and waste money.
To effectively clean your ductwork, you will require heavy-duty gloves and a vacuum cleaner with an extended hose. A brush and cleaning cloths may also come in handy for wiping down vents and ductwork before beginning this task. For optimal results, turn off power through an outdoor HVAC disconnect panel before beginning this job.
Before beginning, place a tissue over your register to determine whether it’s a return or supply vent. Return vents bring air back into the system while supply vents carry it directly into your room.
4. Clean the Outside Unit
Heat pumps are an efficient and cost-effective solution to keeping a home warm, yet require regular upkeep in order to remain effective. Just like furnaces and air conditioners, heat pumps may lose efficiency if neglected.
Heat pumps require regular maintenance of their outdoor units to avoid dust and debris clogging up airflow, restricting it. You should regularly weed or mow around it as well as clear away branches, shrubs or tall grass that might obstruct its fan.
As always, make sure that power has been turned off to the unit before beginning cleaning. A shutoff box should be visible near its location on an exterior wall; or you can switch off your circuit breaker at your electrical panel. After turning off power to your unit, use a garden hose at low pressure with low-pressure setting to wash away dirt and debris from it while remembering to rinse out its filter afterwards.
5. Clean the Fan Blades
Your heat pump’s fan blades can quickly accumulate dust and debris, reducing airflow and making your system work harder to keep temperatures at the desired level. To keep it working efficiently, clean it regularly either using an industry-specific cleaner, such as vinegar-baking soda solution in water, or by making one at home using vinegar and baking soda in equal proportions – but make sure all power is off before attempting this task!
Before beginning, switch off your heat pump and remove its access panel from its cabinet. Following manufacturer guidelines to clean out the evaporator coil – usually by wet/dry vacuum, but some systems require special cleaners – is essential to maintaining efficiency and lifespan while preventing costly repair bills or potential damages to your unit.
6. Check the Coils
Heat pumps can save money when it comes to both heating and cooling costs, but just like any system they require routine maintenance for optimal performance.
Dirty evaporator coils can significantly decrease the efficiency of your heat pump and cause lasting damage to the compressor by blocking refrigerant from moving freely between coils.
To prevent such issues, it’s vital that your outdoor unit remains clear of dust, dirt and debris. Ideally, use a garden hose (rather than a power washer) when washing it – though be wary when using power washers on coils as this could potentially damage them and should only be performed by trained professionals.
7. Check the Electrical Connections
As with any major household appliance, your heat pump should be regularly checked to ensure proper operation. Tripped breakers or blown fuses may indicate electrical problems which should be resolved promptly by professional electricians.
Check your electrical connections to ensure they are tight and undamaged, and make sure the heat pump is free from snow or ice accumulation; additionally, ensure all outdoor units are free from overgrown plants or yard debris. In many heat pumps with motors that need lubricating – during a maintenance visit technicians will inspect and lubricate these motors so as to reduce wear-and-tear and prolong its lifespan.
8. Check the Thermostat
As well as replacing air filters, installing a smart programmable thermostat can also assist your heat pump in operating more efficiently by preventing its heater from turning on too frequently, thus cutting energy bills and prolonging its life span.
Adjusting your thermostat too frequently will cause your heat pump to work harder than needed and could eventually lead to premature wear and tear. Find what temperature works for you in both summer and winter and stick with that setting for best results.
Keep the area around your outdoor unit free from debris such as leaves and snow to avoid blocking its fan and creating a fire hazard. Also ensure your air flow direction is optimized by directing cool air up (since cold air sinks), while warm air should flow downward – your system should automatically do this, though you can alter this using your remote control if desired.
9. Change the Frequency
Heat pumps can be highly effective heating solutions in different climates, but for peak performance and energy savings they must be properly maintained. A non-functioning or constantly running unit may use more electricity and emit more greenhouse gasses than required.
Regular professional maintenance of your heat pump is the key to its optimum functioning, with technicians checking over its evaporator coil and indoor air quality to make sure that winter doesn’t catch it by surprise.
Also make sure that you keep the thermostat steady; unlike traditional heating systems which save energy by turning down overnight or while you’re away, heat pumps work most efficiently when kept at a constant temperature; therefore, using a programmable thermostat is the key to saving money with a heat pump system.
10. Schedule a Service Call
If your heat pump becomes clogged with snow, ice, overgrown shrubbery or yard debris it may malfunction and stop working efficiently. Avoid power washing your heat pump as this could bend its fins or cause other damage; instead gently brush off its exterior unit before cleaning with water from a garden hose.
Properly maintained heat pumps improve indoor air quality and may help those suffering from allergies and asthma breathe easier, save energy and money, as well as reduce repair and replacement costs.
Preventative maintenance provided by companies like Colt Home Services includes checking the metering device for obstructions, compressor amp draw and fan vibration and stability as well as defrost timer, defrost timer function and cleanliness as well as checking reversing valve operation and crankcase heater operations to ensure maximum efficiency and longevities of operation for your heat pump. When properly maintained, heat pumps operate more efficiently and last longer.