Heat pumps keep climbing in popularity, especially here in the Northeast. So it wouldn’t be surprising if you have one as part of your home heating system. It also wouldn’t be surprising if you had questions about how to care for your heat pump system.
Why Buy a Heat Pump?
There are several different reasons why you might look into purchasing a heat pump for your home:
- To supplement another system such as radiant heating
- To replace an old system or multiple systems with one, consolidated system
- Increase your home’s energy efficiency and lower your utility bills
Heat pumps cover a cornucopia of solutions. They allow you to use the same system to heat and cool your home rather than installing separate heating and cooling units. They’re also more fuel efficient than other HVAC options as they transfer heat rather than rely on burning fuel or electric. And it provides energy savings over the life of the system, essentially paying for itself.
Common Questions about Heat Pumps
Does my heat pump need to have regular service completed?
Just like any other system, it will benefit from routine checks and maintenance. Energy.gov even tells us that a well-maintained heat pump system will use about 15% less energy than one that is neglected.
Along with keeping the system more efficient, regular service also helps lower the risk of damage to the compressor which helps protect your investment. And that eliminates the cost of added repairs.
How often should it be serviced?
You should schedule a routine maintenance inspection with a professional contractor at least once each year. However, if your heat pump is your primary system, you should consider doing it once in the spring and once in the fall.
How much does maintenance cost?
Heat pump maintenance varies with each professional, as you probably already guessed. It also depends on the age of the system, how complex the system is, and how often service has been performed previously.
So instead of looking at maintenance cost, let’s look at comparing regular service cost (preventative) to a repair cost (fixing something that’s already gone wrong). According to HomeAdvisor.com, the national average in 2018 to repair a heat pump system is $347. But that’s just the average – a repair can quickly run up to $1200 or more.
Preventative measures average much less (contact Stack for a quote), so it tends to be more cost-effective than waiting until there’s an issue. And if you sign up for a managed service program, you can save even more.
Can I just maintenance the heat pump myself?
For common issues, absolutely. And not only can you, but you should. For example, you can keep an eye on the defrost cycle that kicks on when it gets colder outside. If you notice that it comes on more frequently or runs longer than usual (15 minutes or more), then you should contact your local technician. You can also keep things running smoothly by replacing air filters regularly and dusting around vents to keep them free from debris, and a few other things we have listed below.
But when you get to issues outside of the everyday ones, it’s imperative to reach out to a professional. A heating system like this one comes with high voltage electricity and refrigerant chemicals which can be dangerous if you are not properly trained. If you’re not injured in the process, your system could be. It’s just not worth the risk.
General Maintenance Tips
While we mentioned that you shouldn’t try to do the heavy lifting by yourself, there are some everyday service tasks you can perform by yourself.
- Replace or clean your air filters regularly.
- Clear away grass, leaves, snow, and debris from the outdoor unit.
- Keep 2-feet of space around your heat pump free from clutter.
- Dust supply and return vents to keep air flowing suitably.
If you need to complete any of the following, don’t attempt to fix them yourself – contact a professional technician that you trust:
- Ducts, filters, blower or indoor coil need to be inspected for obstructions or damage
- Clean the indoor coil and drain pan
- Flush out and clean the drain line
- Find and seal any duct leaks
- Inspect motors and bearings and provide any needed lubrication
- Inspect belts for wear-and-tear and replace it if needed
- Check line pressure
- Measure the refrigerant charge
- Check for refrigerant leaks and make any repairs
- Check the proper defrost cycle sequence
- Inspect the blower wheel
- Check the electrical wiring and make repairs as needed
- Check that the electrical controls are correct (cooling is locked out when calling for heating and vice versa)
- Test thermostat functionality
- Inspect the outside unit, base pan, and temperature sensors
When you have a system that is well-maintained, you get comfort, energy efficiency, and a reasonable utility bill. And if you schedule professional heat pump maintenance annually, you can be sure your system is in tip-top shape for every season.
If you’re ready to schedule that maintenance inspection, you can reach out to us here.