October 10, 2013
How Neglecting Your Heat Pump Can Cost You More
It’s not an air conditioner, and it’s not a heater, but it keeps your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Your heat pump is a marvel of engineering and technology that saves from 30 to 40 percent on annual utility bills. However, don’t assume that its smooth operation means this important piece of equipment doesn’t need a regular professional inspection. The cost of heat pump repair is far more expensive than the price of an annual tune-up.
How It Works
Your heat pump operates on simple principles and sophisticated mechanics. A fan pulls outside air through coils filled with liquid refrigerant that absorb heat and convert it into hot vapor. The unit’s compressor sends this vapor to indoor coils that pump heat through the ductwork into your home. Staying comfortable in the summer depends on the heat pump’s reversing valve that resets the system to work in the opposite direction. Reversing the flow of the refrigerant allows it to absorb heat inside the unit and return it to the outside so the house stays cool during hot weather.
The same routines that you’d perform on a traditional air conditioner and heating system apply to the heat pump, and you should always use the same caution around the unit too. Summer maintenance is as easy as making sure that the unit isn’t cluttered with cuttings from mowing the lawn. Give it a good shower with the hose, but don’t use chemical cleaners or high-powered spray washers. During the winter, don’t let snow drift against the unit, and watch out for small tree branches that might come down with stormy weather. Inside the house, changing those filters every few months helps take the work load off your heat pump.
What Could Go Wrong?
Any system as smart as a heat pump is designed to operate efficiently, but moving parts eventually wear out or fall prey to something as simple as the family dog chewing through wiring. A defective thermostat or breaker can prevent your unit from coming on, while low levels of refrigerant will make it run constantly. If the reversing valve goes bad, the house will fill up with cold air during the winter or heat up when the outside temperatures soar. From a failing fan motor to a bad capacitor, heat pump repair is a job for your friendly HVAC pro, and an annual checkup is always the best preventative maintenance.
The Professional Difference
It’s tempting to bet that your heat pump will be fine for another year without an inspection. However, when you consider everything our trained HVAC technician takes care of, the odds are in favor of expensive equipment failure without his attention. He checks and adjusts the refrigerant pressure, cleans the compressor and evaporator coil and makes sure electrical terminals are in good shape. The motor gets oiled, belts are tightened and checked for wear, and the thermostat is tested and calibrated. From measuring air flow to making sure the unit’s pad is level, our professional tech inspects everything.
Your heat pump is an investment, and it makes a big difference in the year-round comfort of your home. A little routine maintenance goes a long way, but the price of a professional inspection is always a fraction of the cost of replacement. That annual checkup is your ace in winning extended life for your heat pump and keeping your money in your pocket.
If you’ve been putting it off, call Max Mechanical Air Conditioning & Heating today at 817-459-4100 or 972- 233-1637, or schedule an inspection online.