A heat pump is an efficient HVAC system that can be used to heat and cool your home. Instead of generating heat like traditional furnace systems do, heat pumps transfer the natural heat from the air (or ground outside) into your home during the winter, and vice versa during the summer. This means that a heat pump can provide both heating and cooling, making it a great all-in-one solution for your home’s HVAC needs. The cost saving of this type of system are significant and proven.
As a professional HVAC contractors, we cannot stress enough the importance of maintenance and upkeep for heat pumps. For this reason we have decided to outline this guide is to help you make the most of your investment with:
- Basic Maintenance Tasks
- Annual Maintenance
- Tips for prolonging the life of your heat pump
1. Basic Maintenance for Home Heat Pump HVAC systems
Cleaning the air filter
Cleaning your air filter is a crucial step in maintaining your heat pump’s efficiency and longevity. Here’s how to do it:
- Locate the air filter:
The air filter is typically located in the return air duct or the blower compartment of the home air handler. This is located in the house somewhere in a utility closet or basement.
- Removing the air filter:
Before you remove it, make sure the thermostat is turned to the off position. Now that its off and you have found the air filter, release the clasps or latches that hold it in place (a door or cover) and carefully pull it out it. These things are always dirty and so if you have a respiratory issues, wear a mask!
- Clean or replace the air filter:
Pay attention to the direction that the filter was inserted. This has arrows printed on the filter and you will need to know that for reinsertion. If the air filter is reusable, typically a sponge-like material, then clean it with water or a solution of mild detergent under a sprayer in your sink. Rinse thoroughly and let it dry (1hour) completely before reinstalling. If it is disposable, replace it with a new one that is preferably HEPA rated.
- Reinstall the air filter:
Once you have cleaned or replaced the air filter, carefully put it back in place, making sure it is securely fastened. Now go back to your thermostat and turn your heat/cooling back on. Your done!
By following these steps, you can ensure that your heat pump’s air filter is clean and functioning properly, which will help keep your home comfortable and energy-efficient.
Checking and replacing the thermostat batteries
Checking and replacing the batteries in your thermostat is a crucial step in maintaining your heat pump. Here are the steps involved in the process:
- Locate the thermostat and identify the battery compartment.
- Remove the cover of the battery compartment and take out the batteries.
- Check the batteries and replace them if they are low or dead. Typically 2-3 AAA batteries are required. We recommend Duracell or Energizer brand.
- Insert the new batteries with the positive and negative ends facing the right direction.
- Close the battery compartment and replace the cover.
- Test the thermostat to ensure it’s working properly.
By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your heat pump’s thermostat is working properly and you can enjoy a comfortable indoor environment.
Checking electrical connections (Pro Needed)
Warning: It is always recommended to consult a licensed HVAC professional to perform this task, especially if you’re not familiar with residential electrical cabling and connections.
- Find the breaker and Turn off the power supply to the heat pump unit
- Locate the electrical panel on the heat pump unit
- Examine all electrical connections for any signs of corrosion or loose connections
STOP – If you find that your panels, cabling, or any screws are showing signs that they are loose or corroded, then you should contact your HVAC professional immediately. This keeps you safe from an electric shock, no damages will occur to the unit or its connections, and your mind will be put at ease knowing that he professionals are taking care of it.
Checking and cleaning the outdoor condenser unit
This step is considered “above and beyond the call” for any homeowner. Please just contact your HVAC contractor for this step as you may damage the unit , receive a harmful / life threatening electric shock, and least of all — violate your home warranty policy.
2. Annual Maintenance for Home Heat Pump
Scheduling a professional inspection and tune-up
Annual maintenance for your home heat pump system is crucial in ensuring it runs efficiently and effectively. One important aspect of annual maintenance is scheduling a professional inspection and tune-up. This involves:
- Hiring a licensed HVAC contractor to examine your heat pump and its components.
- Checking the refrigerant levels, tightening electrical connections, and ensuring all parts are functioning correctly.
- Calibrating the system to ensure it is running at optimal heating/cooling performance. Not a trivial matter and requires specialized equipment.
- Making any necessary repairs or updates to extend the life of your hvac system
Note: Big items to catch early on and avoid complete system failure are:
- Refrigerant leaks:
The refrigerant is responsible for heat transfer and leaks can reduce efficiency and cause other issues.
- Fan motors:
Over time, fan motors can wear out, reducing the heat pump’s ability to circulate air and leading to overheating and other problems.
- Checking and cleaning the evaporator coils
Checking and cleaning the evaporator coils is an important part of heat pump maintenance. Regular cleaning is critical and it improves the efficiency and prolongs the lifespan. This involves manually inspecting the coils for debris and dirt buildup, and cleaning to avoid any blockages.
- Cleaning the condensate drain
Algae, dirt and other debris builds up every few months. This has to stay clear of obstruction in order for the unit to keep from breaking or overheating.
Don’t wait for the chill to set in!
Schedule that heat pump maintenance today for a warmer, cozier winter experience!
3. Tips for prolonging the life of your heat pump
- Replace the air filter regularly. (Don’t let it drag down your system!)
- Check and tighten electrical connections. (Exercise caution, call a professional if in doubt)
- Schedule an annual inspection and tune-up by a professional. (Contact Us!)
- Keep the outdoor unit level and clear of obstacles. Rake, Cut weeds, remove branches and leaves.
- Insulate pipes to prevent heat loss. (Pipes coming out of the unit should be well wrapped and insulated)
- Keep the outdoor unit shaded from direct sunlight.
- Remove excess humidity from indoor air. (Ask your HVAC contractor about home dehumidifiers)
- Avoid overloading electrical circuits. (Call an Electrical Contractor like AMF St. Louis)
- Keep the area around the outdoor unit clear and well-ventilated.
- Use a programmable thermostat to optimize energy usage.