Written by Brad Crawford
Heat pumps offer reliable, straightforward performance along with high efficiency and long service life. Maintenance requirements are not extensive; however, the importance of maintenance is more critical with a heat pump than with conventional forced-air systems. Lack of regular maintenance alone can cause the efficiency of heat pumps to decline as much as 25 percent, nearly offsetting all the efficiency gains provided by the technology. While some simple tasks may be performed by the homeowner, the technical requirements of heat pumps generally require a trained HVAC technician with specialized tools. Here’s what he or she will do in about an hour:
- Examine the air filter and replace it if required. For maximum performance and efficiency, heat pumps require higher airflow than conventional HVAC systems so a clean filter is critical. Inspecting the filter (and changing it if necessary) is one thing you can and should do yourself on a monthly basis. If you don’t know how, the technician will be happy to show you.
- Duct inspection for external signs or leakage at seams and joints and internal accumulation of dust or dirt. Evidence of leakage may suggest pressure testing to determine the severity and location of leaks system-wide.
- Verify the refrigerant charge. Low refrigerant almost always means a leak somewhere. Your technician has the equipment to detect and locate leakage.
- Inspect electrical connections and clean and tighten if necessary.
- Test the controls that disable the heating function when the thermostat is set for air conditioning and vice versa.
- Compare thermostat room temperature with a reading from a mercury thermometer and calibrate the thermostat if necessary.
- Outside, clear any vegetation such as weeds and shrubbery away from the vent grilles of the outdoor coil and fan component. Keeping grass, brush and weed growth cut back year-round is another DIY task you can perform.
- Clean the outdoor coil of dust and vacuum debris such as grass clippings and leaves from the coil cabinet. Lubricate the fan and check the tightness and wear of the fan belt.
Crawford Services provides value-driven air conditioning, heating and plumbing solutions to Dallas area homeowners. Contact us to schedule maintenance checkups for heat pumps and all other HVAC equipment.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in North Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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