Heat Pump Maintenance - Tips to Keep Your System Running Smoothly

May 2, 2023

Heat pumps are an efficient way to heat and cool your home. However, they require maintenance to function properly.

Having proper and routine heat pump maintenance can reduce your energy costs. It can also save you from expensive repairs.

Clean filters, unobstructed air flow, and professional inspections can help your system run more efficiently.

Clean the Outdoor Unit

When dirt and debris accumulate inside the heat pump Ottawa, it reduces efficiency. That’s why keeping the area around the outdoor unit clear of shrubbery, grass clippings, and leaves is important. The system should have at least 18 inches of clearance for proper airflow.

In addition, make a habit of regularly looking at the outdoor unit and checking for snow or ice build-up on the top, sides, and bottom of the unit. This is especially important after bad weather.

If you find any ice on the coil, turn off power to the unit at the shutoff box, typically located within eyesight on an exterior wall (shutoffs vary, so check your owner’s manual for specifics). Then, slowly pour warm water over the ice. Don’t pick at the ice or use sharp objects to avoid serious damage and personal injury. Once the ice is melted, clean the unit and replace the top grille.

Check the Condensate Drain

Over time algae and debris can build up in the drain line, causing a physical blockage that prevents water flow. The solution is to empty the clogged line by removing the PVC cleanout tee and drain valve, cleaning them, and then reinstalling them.

Locate the access point to your condensate drain line – usually a T-shaped vent with a cap at the end. Remove the cap, then pour a cup of white vinegar into the access point opening. This will kill any mold, mildew, or algae that have formed in the pipe.

While you have the access cap off, wash the drain pan with soap and water to keep it from growing algae and clogging. Keeping the drain pan clean and the surrounding area free of vegetation, snow, and ice is important. This will protect your heat pump from damage and help it to operate efficiently. The best way to do this is to have your system serviced by an HVAC professional every year.

Change the Filter

Heat pumps use a system similar to refrigerators, where the refrigerant absorbs and pushes away the warm air inside. However, moving existing warm air is far more efficient than creating it. The best way to prevent your heat pump from consuming more energy than necessary this winter is to change its air filter regularly.

Located in the return air vent or on the wall or ceiling, the filter stops dust, hair, and other contaminants from reaching different parts of your home’s heat pump. A clogged filter restricts airflow, which can weaken your system and directly impact the air quality in your home.

To change the filter, start by shutting off the power to your heat pump. This can be done at your thermostat or breaker box or by using the switch often found on or near the indoor unit. This is a safety precaution because it’s important to ensure the evaporator coil is not hot before you open the return air cover or remove the old filter.

Check the Thermostat

In addition to your sense of sight, your sense of smell can indicate whether your heat pump has a problem. If the air from your vents smells musty, you may have a mold problem in your ducts. Mold spores can have negative health effects, so getting them taken care of as quickly as possible is important.

Another issue that can cause the blower to turn on and off repeatedly is an electrical issue, such as a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse. Confirm that the power switch on or near your indoor unit is ON to check for this. Then, check your home’s electrical panel for hardwired units to see if the circuit breaker has tripped or the fuse is blown.

When troubleshooting your heat pump, it is always best to call a licensed professional HVAC technician. They can inspect the entire system, make any needed repairs and help you keep your heat pump in tip-top shape.


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