Other than the simplest tasks, heat pump maintenance should generally be left to the pros. Lack of expertise and training on the part of homeowners means it can be dangerous to attempt to maintain the system, not to mention that improperly done maintenance may lead to future malfunctions and increased energy costs, too. Attempting to perform anything but the simplest heat pump maintenance yourself also may void any warranties the system has, or agreements with your HVAC contractor. Qualified HVAC technicians, on the other hand, undergo extensive training to care for heat pumps. Here are the straight facts about what homeowners can do to maintain their heat pumps, and what tasks should be leave to the professionals.
Expert technicians should perform these tasks:
- Check the overall condition of the heat pump’s two primary components, the outside condensing unit and the inside air handler/evaporator.
- Clean components such as the coil, motors, fans and more.
- Check the condition of the ductwork, which delivers conditioned air into the home, sealing leaks and installing insulation if necessary.
- Test the defrost sensors.
- Clean the condensate drain and drain lines.
- Test airflow through the system.
- Charge the heat pump with refrigerant if it’s low, and check for leaks if that’s the case.
- Lubricate the motors and check the belts, if applicable.
- Check the condition of the electric terminals, applying a coating that’s nonconductive, and tightening any loose connections.
- Test the controls, and verify correct thermostat readings.
Homeowners can engage in these safe and simple heat pump maintenance tasks:
- Replace the filter. Most experts advise checking the heat pump filter every month, and replacing it as needed. If your household suffers from allergies, or you have pets, you may have to change the filter more often than households that don’t.
- Check the outdoor condenser. Overgrown vegetation, or loose plant debris such as leaves and grass trimmings, can compromise airflow, while grass, leaves and dirt that blow into the unit can hinder efficient heat transfer. Trim landscaping and sweep vegetation away from the unit. Occasionally spraying the condenser with a garden hose will keep it clean.
- Periodically check the indoor registers. Remove any furniture, rugs or drapes that block supply and return grilles, decreasing airflow.
Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning is pleased to serve homeowners in the greater Fresno area. Give us a call today to schedule heat pump maintenance, or for any cooling concerns you may have.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Fresno, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about heat pump maintenance and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock