First, make sure you’re changing your air filter! Too many homeowners assume two things about the air filter that comes standard with their HVAC system—that it’s there for their indoor air quality and that it only needs to be changed a couple times a year, during professional maintenance.
The air filter is in place to protect the HVAC system itself from dirt, dust, and debris that can infiltrate it and reduce system efficiency, leading to a plethora of costly problems for you. Depending on the type of air filter you have in place and the level of contaminants in your home—i.e. someone with pets or someone who smokes will have to deal with excessive pet dander as well as smoke particles—the air filter should be changed every 1–3 months during periods of use. And considering that heat pumps are year round systems, they are almost always in use. Therefore, you should stay on top of this DIY-maintenance task.
For everything else—meaning, for a full and comprehensive tune-up that ensures the effectiveness of your heat pump—you want to call our staff for professional maintenance.
Heat Pump Maintenance
You’ve likely heard of heating maintenance and cooling maintenance. Well, your heat pump needs both. You’ll need to prepare this system to handle the rigors of each coming season of extreme weather. For homeowners who utilize a central air conditioner and/or a furnace system, they’ll schedule maintenance for each of these systems once a year. Since your heat pump is a year-round home comfort system, that means you should schedule professional maintenance twice a year.
What’s important to remember about heat pumps is that they are not two separate unit packaged together. Your heat pump system uses the same components to operate, whether in heating mode or cooling mode. The compressor runs no matter what, and circulates refrigerant through two sets of coils, indoor and outdoors. The blower fan sends the heated or cooled air into your ventilation system. This is made possible by a component called the reversing valve, which can reverse the flow of refrigerant and therefore whether your heat pump will cool or heat.
Your Heat Pump Compressor
As you can imagine, a full year of work for your heat pump puts its’ components under a lot of stress. This is especially true for the compressor: the heart of your HVAC system. The compressor requires special attention before winter and summer to ensure that it isn’t wearing down too fast. If the compressor fails, in most cases it means you’ll need to replace the entire heat pump.
Cleaning Your Heat Pump
A vital part of heat pump maintenance is the cleaning aspect. A good amount of dust, dirt, and other grime can build up on the system’s components. This is actually the leading cause for a heat pump to start performing at poor energy efficiency. Cleaning of the coils, motors, and other components is essential for great system operation.