Heat Pump Maintenance
A well-maintained heat pump could save 10% to 25% on your energy costs. When installed and tested by a qualified technician, heat pumps can deliver many years of dependable service and comfort. Below are some steps you can follow to ensure that your heat pump gives you optimum performance. Note: When you're cleaning your heat pump, remember to switch it off first and shut off the power to your outdoor unit.
Note: if you aren't confident in your ability to perform these tasks safely and correctly, don't do it. Hire a contractor instead.
Do-It-Yourself Maintenance Tips For Your Heat Pump
Here are a few basic steps to ensure the long-term efficient operation of your heat pump:
- The thermostat should be set and left alone; don't change it too frequently. If you have a programmable thermostat for your heat pump, it will let you regulate the temperature more efficiently.
- Air filters should be cleaned or replaced every one to three months.
- If the indoor coils are accessible, check and clean them.
- The condensate pan, drain and trap must be checked and cleaned.
- Make sure the air registers are not blocked by furniture or other objects.
- The area around the outdoor part of the heat pump must be kept clear of debris.
- Clear out grass clippings, dry leaves, and dirt from the unit regularly.
- Never shut off power to your outdoor unit unless you are cleaning it.
If you hear odd sounds coming from the pump or if the pump is not working and you've already performed routine maintenance, call your contractor for repairs and annual maintenance. Annual maintenance involves:
- Inspection of ducts, filters, blower, and indoor coil for dirt and other obstructions.
- Checking for/fixing duct leakage.
- Checking the airflow.
- Measuring the refrigerant charge and checking for refrigerant leaks.
- Inspecting electrical terminals and cleaning and tightening connections. This may also include the application of non-conductive coating.
- Lubrication of motors. The contractor should also make sure the belts have the right amount of tension and are in good condition.
- Setting the electric control so that heating is locked out when the thermostat is set to cool and cooling is locked out when the thermostat is set to heat.
- Ensuring that the thermostat functions perfectly.
Apart from the above, the heat pump can develop other operational problems. Heat pumps have auxiliary heating elements that draw so much power that they can trip the circuit breakers. In such cases, resetting the circuit breaker should solve the immediate problem. However, it if recurs frequently, you'll want to speak with your HVAC contractor or electrician.
If the heat pump turns off and on often, it could be due to a thermostat problem. Maybe the filters need to be changed or the blower checked. Sometimes there are squealing sounds if the belt connecting the motor to the fan slips. But if you hear a grinding noise, the motor's bearings could be worn out. Switch off your heat pump and call the technicians. When the heat pump defroster does not work, check to see if there is heavy ice on it or if it has failed.
Regular maintenance can help keep your heat pump working efficiently and help you avoid expensive repairs (and downtime!)