Maintaining your heat pump
A heat pump is an excellent way to save money on your home heating and reduce your carbon footprint. However, to ensure your heat pump runs optimally and ensure its longevity, heat pump maintenance should be carried out annually by either the homeowner or a qualified installer.
Instructions on how to maintain your air or ground source heat pump should be supplied to you upon the system being installed and should specify your heat pumps maintenance requirements.
If maintained properly, your system is expected to last for at least 20 to 30 years giving you peace of mind that your home will stay heated throughout the colder seasons.
Air source heat pump maintenance
An excellent feature of having an air source heat pump (ASHP) in your home is they require very little maintenance. Each make and model may have different maintenance requirements and advice on how to care for your unit is supplied from the manufacturer upon the installation.
Fortunately, there are a lot of maintenance tasks that can be performed by the homeowner which can help ensure your heat pump is running efficiently throughout the year. These include:
- Make sure filters are clean or swap them out
- Once the unit is switched off, check/clean the fan blades
- Ensure airflow is not restricted to the unit by debris
- Cleaning coils and fans if needed
- Clean the unit’s supply and return registers inside the property
Professional ASHP maintenance
As autumn rolls around and the winter months are approaching, we recommend having your air source heat pump maintained and serviced by a professional who will perform a more detailed inspection of your heat pump to ensure your system is running at peak performance. These checks are a little bit more involved than the tasks listed above and can help diagnose potential issues before they could become costly in the future. These checks include the following
- Checking refrigerant levels and pressure
- Inspect the system for leaks
- Ensure adequate lubricant for moving belts and motors
- Check belts and motors for wear and tear
- Check reverse heating/cooling controls are working as required
- Check ducts for leakage
- Ensure electrical contacts are protected from the elements
Ground source heat pump maintenance
If you have a ground source heat pump (GSHP) installed on your premises, you will be please to know that the maintenance for this system is limited. This is because these systems work in a similar way to your refrigerator, only in reverse. However, it goes without saying that a ground source heat pump that is not properly maintained can have an adverse effect on the performance, and a system that is not functioning correctly can lose up to 25% of its efficiency in both energy consumption and heat generation.
Most GSHP manufacturers require an annual inspection by a qualified technician who will make sure the system is operating within the manufacturer’s tolerances. They will also ensure that your thermostat isn’t set too low as this will mean an expensive auxiliary heater could be in use which in turn, will mean your system is using considerably more energy to operate than needed.
GSHP Manufacturers maintenance documents
Information from manufacturers about the maintenance requirements for their system is readily available and this will give an insight to the exact requirements to maintain your ground source heat pump. Their documentation will inform you of the unit’s service schedules and give you insight into properly looking after your heat pump.
Professional GSHP maintenance
As part of a qualified technician’s annual check-up, they will perform tasks that should be carried out by professionals only. This is because devices containing F-Gas refrigerants will require an engineer who is certified to use and work on these components. For example, for a closed-loop heat pump, here are some of the components a technician will look over:
- Check for the correct chemical mixture of the anti-freeze/coolant in the ground array
- Look over the electronics and control equipment
- Check radiators and bleed system
- Look over pipes and connectors above ground
- Ensure the compressor is working correctly
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should I get my heat pump serviced?
It is recommended that your heat pump should be maintained and serviced annually. This is to ensure the unit is running effectively and efficiently.
Can I maintain my heat pump myself?
There are certain checks that you can perform yourself to help care for your heat pump. However, you should also have your system maintained professionally by a certified technician.
Will maintaining my heat pump save me money?
By maintaining your heat pump, you are not only safeguarding your heat pump’s lifespan, but also your wallet. This is because regular maintenance ensures your heat pump is running efficiently and can identify components that could be worn out.
How long should a heat pump last?
Generally speaking, heat pumps have a typical lifespan of 20-30 years.