In essence, a heat pump is an all in one heating and air-conditioning unit. It extracts heat from inside the home and transfers it to the outdoor air. In colder weather, however, the process reverses—the unit collects heat from the outdoor air and transfers it inside your home. Much like every other piece of equipment in your home, there are certain maintenance practices that should be practiced. Consider the information below a crash course in Heat Pump 101.
Changing the Filters
If you use your heat pump on a regular basis, you should change the filter about once a month. You could probably get away with only changing the filter once every three months if you only run the unit periodically. Keep fans and coils clean and free from debris, and have your heat pump inspected by a professional once every year or two.
Common Problems with the Unit
There are a number of problems that can face a heat pump. These include:
- Low Airflow
- Leaky or noisy ducts
- Temperature problems
- Squeaking or grinding noises
If you can, try to isolate the location of the problem. Is the airflow only low coming out of one register, or do all registers have low airflow? Is the offending noise coming from the air ducts or within the heat pump unit itself?
There are a few things you can do to identify and possibly fix a heat pump problem before calling for professional help. First, if the unit isn’t working, try resetting its motor. Check the pump ignition system for problems, and make sure you don’t have a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse. Check the thermostat to make sure it’s working properly.
Change the filter if it’s dirty, and make sure there are no airflow blockages. If the air ducts are making noise when they expand and contract, you could try putting a dent in the side of the duct to make the surface more rigid. Rattles may be fixed by fastening loose parts. If you hear these squeaks, you should strongly consider replacing or adjusting the fan belt. A grinding noise may indicate that the bearings on the motor are worn out, which will require the help of a professional to fix.
Keep in mind that if you aren’t mechanically inclined then you probably shouldn’t attempt to do this kind of repair work. And because heat pumps can contain hazardous materials, that’s another good reason to get some professional assistance. A chemical leak is bad news and you can easily injure yourself handling a broken device. If you notice a leak, be certain to call a professional as soon as possible.
A heat pump should last between 10 and 30 years, with geothermal units leading the way in longevity. In fact, some components of ground-source heat pumps can last even longer. Keep in mind that technology may change before your heat pump has worn out, so you may find your heat pump outlasts a technician’s ability to service it. New technologies may make heat pumps safer or more efficient, so you may wish to keep an eye out for new kinds of heat pumps.
Cleaning the Outdoor Unit
During the summer, it is common for many of these units to attract dirt and other grime. Consider cleaning the outdoor unit in order to prevent the buildup of dirt. If the unit is in a spot where there is little interaction, make sure that there is no grass, weeds or other detritus. If the debris is cleared, the unit can run to its maximum capacity.
Call the professionals at Rebmann Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning to schedule your heat pump service today!