Heat pumps are essential systems for your home when it comes to heating and cooling. Without them, your home could easily feel uncomfortable. Like any heating and cooling system, you need to make sure you keep your heat pump maintained. Otherwise, you could run into problems with its cost and performance.
Luckily, heat pumps are efficient and affordable when used properly. With only a few simple tips and tricks, you should be able to keep your heat pump in good shape at all times. Plus, with a little extra research, you will also be prepared to deal with minor heat pump repairs. Of course, you can always call a professional too if the situation requires it. So, what is a heat pump and how does it work?
What is a Heat Pump?
A heat pump is an essential unit for your home that provides both heating and cooling. It’s installed outside your house, so it transfers heat between your home and the outside air. During colder months, it pulls heat from the air and transfers it inside. During warmer months, it pulls heat from inside your home and transfers it outside.
Essentially, a heat pump does the work of a furnace and air conditioner all in one, but it’s more environmentally friendly since it transfers heat instead of generating it. Even in frigid temperatures, heat pumps can still successfully find heat in the air, and they will save you money in the long run.
Types of Heat Pumps
Heat pumps come in three main types: air source, water source, and geothermal. Air source heat pumps are the most common, simply extracting heat from the outside air in the winter and bringing it inside. In the summer, they do the opposite by taking hot air from inside the home and pushing it outside.
Water source heat pumps are less common, but are another energy efficient option. They work by moving heat through a system of water pipes. Then, geothermal heat pumps go underground, which can be beneficial for colder climates. The ground temperature is much more consistent than the air temperature, making it easier for the heat pump to find heat even in the coldest months of the year.
How Can Heat Pumps Save You Money Long-Term?
The main reason many families choose heat pumps today over furnaces and air conditioning units is because they can save you a lot of money long-term. First of all, a heat pump replaces two systems. Instead of spending money on a furnace and air conditioner, you can save money by getting a heat pump, which heats and cools all in one.
Heat pumps also have lower running costs. Since heat pumps rely on transferring heat instead of generating it, your yearly bills on heating and cooling will be noticeably less. And as mentioned earlier, the environment will benefit from your new unit as well.
You can also expect to have your heat pump for a long time since the average lifespan for these systems is 15-20 years. Thus, you won’t have to worry about the sizable costs of buying a new system in the near future at all. You can feel at ease knowing you’ve chosen a heating and cooling system that will properly support you for years to come.
Additionally, heat pumps are known for having less maintenance than other heating systems. A yearly maintenance check is really all you need to keep your heat pump in tiptop shape. But that being said, it’s not impossible for heat pumps to have flaws. Luckily, staying on top of minor heat pump maintenance can help you avoid more serious repairs in the future. So, what should you expect when checking on your new heat pump?
Heat Pump Repairs and Maintenance Tips
Heat pumps often have more affordable energy bills, but properly maintaining your unit is also important for keeping the cost low. Regular maintenance can improve the performance of your system, help it last longer, and prevent it from breaking down. So, what do you need to do to keep your system running as it should?
The first thing to work on is keeping the filter clean. In most cases, you should replace them monthly or as often as the manufacturer recommends. Additionally, you should check your heat pump for any abnormalities, such as loose electrical connections and refrigerant leaks. If you notice any problems, address them as soon as possible. Most minor problems can be solved by you or someone in your household, but if you ever feel uncomfortable doing it yourself, feel free to contact a professional for help.
Again, scheduling an annual checkup with your HVAC professional might be all you need to do to keep your heat pump running as it should. For some people, this might sound like a hassle, but it will be much easier and more affordable than waiting until something significantly wrong occurs. Small maintenance here and there will be much more affordable than waiting until serious problems arise.
Troubleshooting for Common Heat Pump Repairs and Problems
Even the highest quality heat pumps can have issues at times. In some cases, you might be able to come to a solution on your own, but other times, calling a professional might be required. So, here are some problems that you could potentially face with your heat pump.
Heat Pump Not Turning On
If your heat pump simply won’t turn on, your first step is to check if it’s receiving power. Make sure your breaker is on. If it’s on, but the heat pump still isn’t working, check your thermostat to make sure it’s in the right mode. If you recently put in a new thermostat that doesn’t seem to work with your heat pump, it could be wired incorrectly.
It’s also a good idea to check for tripped circuit breakers or a blown fuse before reaching out to a professional. If the circuit breakers trip again not long after flipping them, then that likely means that there is a short in your electrical system. At that point, you will need to call a trained professional to replace the damaged parts.
Heat Pump Not Providing Heat
If your heat pump is on, but not providing any heat, it’s recommended that you check your thermostat first. Oftentimes, the thermostat isn’t set properly or it isn’t sending a signal to the outdoor unit.
Another possibility is that the outdoor unit is covered in dense snow, preventing it from providing heat. A simple solution is to brush off any snow that might be blocking the unit.
In some cases, a lack of heat could be caused by a damaged defrost timer or a low refrigerant charge. An HVAC professional will be needed to help you fix these problems, especially if you need to replace a part.
Heat Pump Not Providing Cool Air
For heat pumps that aren’t cooling properly, check the thermostat first. Make sure the settings are correct, and if they are, the issue could be with the thermostat wiring. Damaged wiring could cause the system to register temperatures incorrectly. If that’s the case, call a professional to help you rewire the thermostat.
Next, you might want to check the outdoor unit. Sometimes, it can get clogged with dirt, leaves, and other debris. Cleaning up the outdoor unit and checking if the filters need to be replaced could solve the issue.
If the thermostat and outdoor unit seem fine, your heat pump might not be cooling due to a low refrigerant level. A low refrigerant level could also be related to a leakage, which is something an HVAC professional will need to tend to. Another potential problem could be a faulty reversing valve, which is also best not to fix on your own.
Heat Pump Making Unusual Noises
When any part of your home makes strange sounds, it can be scary. But it’s something you’ll likely need to deal with in an older system. If these unfamiliar sounds resemble humming, then the hardware could be loose, which means you’ll need to tighten the fasteners as necessary.
However, if the sounds are more like squealing or grinding, then that’s a sign of a more severe concern. Some potential problems could include a faulty compressor or worn-out motor bearings. These issues require immediate care, so turn off your unit and contact a professional right away.
Cost of Heat Pump Repairs
The cost of heat pump repairs can vary based on what needs to be done. Smaller repairs related to the thermostat are usually more affordable, ranging from $100 to $200. Replacing bigger parts of your unit, such as a defrost timer, circuit breaker, or condenser could cost closer to $150 to $250.
In extreme cases, you might need to replace major parts of your heat pump, including a faulty valve, which could cost $450 to $600, or a compressor, which could range from $800 to $1,200. To get the most accurate cost, contact an HVAC professional for a repair estimate. They can also help you figure out what’s wrong with your system if you don’t already know.
Luckily, if you check on your heat pump occasionally and schedule yearly HVAC appointments as needed, you can avoid these higher costs.
When to Turn to a Professional
While some HVAC repairs are minor enough for you to complete on your own, you should never fix something that you don’t feel confident about. When in doubt, turn to a Government Certified Tradesperson for proper assistance. Hiring someone to fix your heat pump might sound expensive, but if you fix your unit incorrectly, it will only cost you more in the future.
Do you have questions about your own heat pump? Are you looking to update your heating and cooling system? Foster Air Heating & Cooling can assist you with all your HVAC needs. Contact us today to find out how we can help keep your system in tiptop shape!