5 Indicators You May Need a Heat Pump Repair
Heat pumps can be a smart way to heat your home here in the Pacific Northwest. However, just like any other appliance in your home, you’ll occasionally need heat pump repair to keep it well maintained and operating as it should.
How a Heat Pump Works
A heat pump works differently than a furnace. Instead of sitting inside in your basement or crawlspace, you’ll find a heat pump sitting outside in a metal box. During the winter months, a heat pump will extract heat from the outside and transfer it inside to heat your home. In the summer, it reverses the process and takes the cool air from outside and transfers it inside.
Most heat-producing appliances generate heat. If you’ve ever lived in a home that has been heated by a boiler, furnace, fireplace, or even a space heater, you understand the heat-generating process.
Heat pumps don’t operate in the same manner. Instead, a heat pump finds heat and moves it around. You’ll find several different types of heat pumps: air, water, or ground. This makes it more energy efficient than its heat-generating counterparts. People select heat pumps over other forms of heating and cooling systems for a variety of reasons, including:
- They provide a heating and cooling system all in one
- They offer both eco-friendly and energy efficient alternatives to conditioning your home
- They are less noisy than other systems
- They offer a safer combustion process with zero carbon monoxide emissions
- They are less expensive than other types of heating and cooling systems
But even the best system will need maintenance. To stay warm all winter long, and cool in the summer months, you’ll occasionally need heat pump repair.
How do you know if now is the time to call in a technician?
1. Your home isn’t as comfortable as it once was
As a heat pump system ages, it might not produce the proper air temperature as it once did. If you start to feel chilly during the winter or aren’t able to cool your home down in the summer, it may be that the pump isn’t doing its job, or it could be low on refrigerant.
It can be as simple as replacing a part and bringing new life to your old equipment. It might be something wrong with the thermostat. It may also be time to consider replacing your old heat pump with a new one. The best way to tell is by calling in a technician for heat pump repair. This professional will be able to assess the situation and give you options.
2. Your heat pump isn’t creating enough airflow
In order for a heat pump to operate efficiently, it has to have the right amount of airflow. Moving air is what keeps the equipment operating and keeps the temperature in your home at the desired level. If something is blocking that airflow, it will cause your heat pump to work inefficiently. Make sure filters are clean and use high-quality filters – ask Entek.
In some cases, it may be a blockage in the system. It might be a part that isn’t working to full performance. As it tries to keep up with demand, it’s putting undue stress on the rest of your equipment. Fixing it will not only fix your airflow problem, but it will also give your equipment a longer life.
3. Your system is making strange noises
One of the easiest ways to tell if your heat pump is in need of repair is to listen for noises. If you hear sounds that aren’t normal, it can be a sign of something wrong. Whistles, pops, groans, squeaks, and other noises can indicate a problem with the internal workings of the system. They may also be coming from the ductwork in your home.
As conditioned air is fed through your ductwork it can cause the metal to expand and contract. That can lead to popping sounds, which might not be a problem. The only way to determine if a new sound is ok is by calling in a professional to assess the situation.
4. Your bills are creeping higher
Each year, your utility bills seem to creep higher and higher. Is this occurring without an explanation?
Sometimes the reason is an increase in fees. But if you notice a sudden spike in your utility bill and it has nothing to do with how much is being charged, the answer might be in the way your heat pump is operating.
While an increased cost may be your first indication, take notice of how long your heater operates. If it seems to run without ever stopping and you still feel cold, it could be a sign you’re in need of heat pump repair.
5. Your pilot light is yellow (gas heat pump only)
Your pilot light should always be blue instead of yellow. If you notice it’s changed color, it might be an indication there is something on the burners interfering with the heating process. If you notice a strange color in your pilot light, shut down the system and call in a technician.
Tips For DIY Maintenance
While you should call in a technician for any work performed directly to your heat pump system, there are things you can do that will ensure it works efficiently.
Place your heat pump in the right area
Heat pumps should be kept away from your foundation where gutter problems can also cause heat pump problems. Always clear debris and leaves from your gutters each year and keep any landscape plants trimmed back If water drains over and into your heat pump, or it freezes solid in the winter, it can restrict airflow and cause damage to your system.
Keep the area clean of debris
It’s easy for leaves, ice, and other debris to accumulate around the heat pump. Make it a practice to check on your heat pump periodically throughout the year. This is especially important if bad weather is in the forecast. Make sure it’s free and clear to work as it should.
Use caution when cleaning
If the outside unit is iced up, check the indoor filter to make sure it is clean. If it’s dirty, change it. If ice remains or if the filter is clean, call a technician. If your heat pump has ice or snow around it, be careful how you clean it. Never use sharp objects or a pick to knock ice chunks away. Warm water can often clear the problem away. If you notice any changes in the way your heat pump operates after cleanup, call in a technician right away.
Have questions about heat pump repair? If your home is heated using a heat pump, don’t delay if you notice changes in its operation. It can save you time and money by acting quickly. Schedule your maintenance visit today.