The Homeowners Guide to Heat Pump Maintenance

Heat Pumps, HVAC, Maintenance

Posted by Brad | February 23, 2024 | Reading Time:

Heat Pumps are all the rage nowadays in Ontario and beyond! They’re powerful and efficient, do the work of two appliances in one, save you money on your monthly utility bills, and they are eligible for significant rebates. Chances are, if you have one, you love it. When properly maintained, heat pumps can last upwards of 15 years. So to keep your heat pump running its absolute best, and for as long as possible, we’ve compiled our essential maintenance tips into one place. Read on for the ultimate Homeowners Guide to Heat Pump Maintenance from Cross Heating & Air Conditioning!

Understanding Your Heat Pump

Before we dive into maintenance, it’s important that you’re familiar with all the components of your heat pump like the compressor, heat exchanger coils and thermostat, and how they work to ensure they’re taken care of properly. Ultimately, heat pumps operate by transferring heat from one source to another. In winter, it extracts heat from the outside air (or ground) and transfers it inside. In summer, it reverses the process, removing heat from your home and releasing it outside. In heating mode, refrigerant passes through the outdoor unit's evaporator coils. Despite cold outdoor temperatures, the refrigerant can absorb heat from the air. The refrigerant, now a warm vapor, is compressed by the compressor, which increases its temperature further. The vapor passes through the indoor unit's condenser coils, releasing its heat into the indoor air. In cooling mode, the process is reversed. It’s also important to note that heat pumps come in a variety of different types, but general maintenance remains the same. These types include air-source, ground-source, mini-split (ductless), dual fuel heat pumps, and even heat pumps that are made to work in even the coldest conditions (we’re talking -30 degrees celsius!)

Regular Heat Pump Maintenance

Regular maintenance, both DIY and professional, is key to maintaining and extending your heat pump’s lifespan. Here are some key takeaways for regular maintenance:

Do It Yourself Maintenance

The great thing about heat pumps is that a lot of the general maintenance needed to keep them operating at their best can be done by you! Examples include:
  • Regularly check and replace air filters: A clean filter allows for proper airflow, which improves efficiency and reduces the strain on your system. Check your heat pump’s filters at least once a month, especially during heavy-use periods. Clean or replace filters as necessary to maintain optimal performance. Reusable filters can be cleaned, but disposable ones need to be swapped out.
  • Inspect your duct work for gaps, clogs or damage: Your ducts are responsible for carrying treated air throughout your home, so they need to be free from damage if you want your heat pump to perform efficiently. Inspect your ducts for leaks, damage, or loose connections, and ensure that your ducts are properly sealed and insulated. Minor duct issues can be temporarily fixed with duct sealant or sealing tape. However, these are only temporary fixes—you’ll need to call in the professionals at Cross Heating for repairs if you want to solve the problem permanently.
  • Remove debris such as dirt, leaves and grass from the outdoor unit: This ensures that objects or particles don’t make their way in and create mechanical or air quality problems while your heat pump is running.Once you’ve cleared the space around the outdoor unit, open it up and gently clean the coils and fins using a soft brush or vacuum with a brush attachment. Straighten any bent fins with a fin comb, which can be purchased at a hardware store. If you do not feel comfortable doing this yourself, don’t risk damaging your heat pump or voiding your warranty—call us for help instead.
  • Double check your thermostat settings: Ensure your thermostat is set to the correct mode (heating or cooling) for the season, and replace the batteries if necessary. Many heat pump efficiency problems result from incorrect thermostat readings, which can cause the unit to overwork itself and affect its longevity. Investing in a programmable smart thermostat can help you circumvent many of these issues, since it can automatically adjust your heat pump’s output to maintain the temperature you want without wasting unnecessary energy.
  • Inspect the blower fan for signs of damage: Your heat pump’s blower fan moves treated air throughout your ducts and is usually located inside your air handler. Open the indoor unit and check the fan and motor for signs of wear or damage—these include ice buildup, wobbling, cracks, and bent blades. Then lubricate the motor and fan bearings, if required, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. You can also call our team for help on this!
  • Inspect your refrigerant lines for signs of damage: Look for signs of leaks or damage in the refrigerant lines—these include kinks or cracks in the lines, as well as droplets or pools of refrigerant nearby. You should also consider insulating exposed refrigerant lines to prevent energy loss as you run your heat pump.

Call in the Professionals at Cross Heating & Air Conditioning

While there are many maintenance tasks you can handle on your own, here are some examples of things that are better left to the professionals.
  • Annual tune-ups - have your heat pump serviced by one of our knowledgeable technicians at least twice a year, once before heating season and once before cooling season. Our team is trained to quickly identify issues and provide immediate solutions.
  • Refrigerant level checks and adjustments - Refrigerant is made from freon, which can be extremely dangerous if inhaled. Always call a professional to check and adjust the refrigerant levels in your heat pump. Having us check the refrigerant levels in your heat pump is important for making sure it can transfer heat into or out of your home using the right amount of energy.
  • Major component repair or replacement - If your heat pump requires repairs or replacements of major components, like the compressor, it’s best to rely on the professional’s at Cross Heating & Air Conditioning.
  • Electrical Checks and Repairs - Working with electricity is extremely dangerous. If you suspect an issue with the electrical components of your heat pump, call us in right away. We have the experience necessary to fix the issue, safely.

Common Issues With Heat Pumps

Regular maintenance can also identify, and even prevent, issues that could affect the efficiency of your unit. If you’re experiencing strange noises coming from your heat pump, uneven heating or cooling, or increased utility bills, give Cross Heating & Air Conditioning a call today. We’ll quickly identify the source of the issue and provide you with immediate solutions to get you back up and running, fast!

Cross Advantage Program

One of the most effective ways to maintain your heat pump is by signing up for the exclusive Cross Advantage Program. For just $18.95/month you’ll get the peace of mind of pre-scheduled, semi-annual heat pump maintenance. You’ll also get:
  • 1-year repair warranty
  • Annual HVAC Dollars
  • 10% discount on future repairs
  • 20% discount on air filters
  • Reduced service rates
  • Product warranty protection.
Give us a call today to learn more or to sign up for the Cross Advantage Program! In order to get the most out of your heat pump it’s important to be proactive about your maintenance, whether it’s DIY or a professional service call, regular maintenance will keep your home safe and comfortable for years to come! Contact us today to schedule your next heat pump maintenance service.
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