Heat Pump Operation and Maintenance

Heat Pump Operation and Maintenance

Most of us heat our homes with a furnace and cool them with air conditioning. But that’s not the only way to do it. A heat pump can heat and cool, depending on conditions. If you have a heat pump, it’s important to maintain it for maximum efficiency, minimum operational cost and longer life.

Unlike furnaces and air conditioners that heat and cool air, respectively, heat pumps move hot air around, transferring it into buildings in cold weather and out of them during hot weather. Because it takes less energy to relocate heat than to produce it, heat pumps tend to be energy efficient compared to HVAC systems. But here’s the catch: that’s particularly true in moderate climates, which the Aiken area is definitely not.

Heat pumps are not very different from HVAC units when it comes to their maintenance. A few relatively small actions on your part can keep your heat pump running smoothly and efficiently. The U.S. Department of Energy says a well-maintained heat pump is up to 25% more energy efficient than a neglected one. That’s 25% more wallet-efficient too.

Here are some of the simple rules of heat pump maintenance:

Clean or change filters monthly.

Dirty filters inhibit air flow and decrease system performance. If it gets severe, it can damage the overworked compressor and expensive item to replace. Air filters cost a few bucks each at the hardware or home improvement store and take 20 seconds to switch out.

Inspect and clean the outdoor coils regularly.

Dirty coils reduce usable surface area, preventing efficient heating and cooling. It’s a good idea to clean the outdoor unit’s fan as well, but wait until after you have turned off the power and its blades have stopped turning. Gently rub them with a soft brush or spray them with a hose on a low setting to remove buildup.

Remove vegetation and debris from around the outdoor unit.

Inspect the outdoor unit regularly because exposure to the elements puts it at risk of accumulating stuff around it. Again, the better the flow of air, the more efficient and effective your heat pump. You may have to get beyond a lawnmower and hand-clip the area around the outdoor unit. 

Address any damage or corrosion quickly. Check around the outdoor unit occasionally to ensure it hasn’t been damaged by wind, flying debris, or curious creatures. If you see a problem, our team can handle it swiftly and efficiently. 

Optimize thermostat settings.

Set your thermostat to a single comfortable temperature or keep it cooler in the winter than in the summer to avoid straining your heat pump trying to keep your home cold in the summer and hot in the winter. Heat pumps are like horses: if you overwork them, you reduce their productivity and shorten their lifespan.  

An alternative way to help you manage your home’s temperature when you’re away is to install a programmable thermostat. This allows you to decrease the heating or cooling by a few degrees, even when no one’s home. Done correctly, this can slash your energy bills and extend the life of the unit.

Have your unit serviced regularly.

Regular checkups are indicated for anything mechanical — your automobile, teeth and heat pump. Arranging periodic inspections by our team of heating and cooling professionals can keep your heat pump operating optimally, saving you money and keeping your family comfortable all year long.