Heat Pump FAQ's:
How do I know
when it's time to replace my Heat Pump?
When the system starts giving you more problems than seem cost-effective to
fix. If the unit is approaching 10 years in age and major components such as
the compressor, reversing valve, accumulator or outdoor coil goes bad, it
might makes sense to replace instead of fix. When faced with major repairs,
we can help you make the right choice. Replacing a compressor is somewhat
less expensive than replacing the entire unit, but new units may give you
greater efficiency, lower operating costs and a brand new warranty on the
whole unit, not just the part to be replaced.
Heat Pump does not keep us comfortable. Should I replace it with a larger
In most cases no. The ductwork is already sized for the heat pump itself. So
a larger heat pump would need larger ductwork. The problem may be due to
undersized ductwork, poor system design or installation. You may need
ductwork modifications, a heat load calculation, or possibly an energy audit
to find the problem areas and correct them. Some people are just never happy
with a heat pump even if it is working perfectly fine. They just can not get
used to the lower temperature output as compared to an oil system for
What is the
average life-span of a Heat Pump?
It can vary, depending on how much the system is used and how regularly it
is checked or serviced. Generally, the average life-span of units built in
the 1970s and 1980s is about 15 years, but individual units may vary and
last much longer depending on use and how well they are maintained. An ARI
survey showed average heat pump life to be about 14 years when recommended
maintenance procedures were followed. Newer units are expected to last even
Can I repair
my own Heat Pump?
In most cases, no. Heat Pumps are on a 240 volt circuit. Severe shock or
electrocution is possible without a thorough understanding of electricity.
Also, Cooling systems today are more complicated to service than ever with
solid state circuit boards and sensors. They usually require expert
attention in order to comply with federal regulations, such as the Clean Air
Act which prohibits releasing refrigerants into the atmosphere. An
EPA-certified air conditioning contractor or service technician should be
called at the first sign of trouble.
replace my system with a Geo-Thermal Heat Pump?
In most cases, our answer would be no. On paper they seem like a great idea
but in the real world they tend to break down often and when they do, the
repairs can be complicated and the bills tend to be much higher than a
normal heat pump. A properly installed High efficiency air source Heat Pump
combined with a high-efficiency air cleaner and central humidifier would be
your best bet.
switch to Emergency Heat when it gets below 35 degrees outside?
If you have a normal electric heat pump, the answer is no. That would be
foolish. A heat pump can still provide heat down to negative 10 degrees. The
heat pump and the electric back-up heat work together. If you have a oil or
gas back-up system then you have the option to switch to back-up heat for
more comfort. But it may be more efficient not to use Emergency Heat.
should I change the air filter in my system?
Check it at least every month during peak use, and replace it when it looks
dirty enough to impair the air flow through it. Some filters, such as media
filters or electronic air cleaners, are washable; others are disposable and
must be replaced.
Can I cover my
outdoor Heat Pump?
Well, here's the deal. Sure, if the cover was far enough above the top of
the unit as to not impede the air flow discharging from the unit. And if it
doesn't interfere with servicing of the unit, then it could help protect the
unit from the elements like snow, ice, falling branches and leaves. But it
really isn't needed. Heat Pumps are designed for outdoor use.