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B.E., Inc.
Heating/Cooling/Heat Pump

61 Cleveland Street
Boston, Ma. 02136

(617) 361-0700

Heat Pump Technology: | Heat Pump Facts:  |  Heat Pump Operation:  |  Heat Pump Characteristics:

Heat Pump Tips:  |  Heat Pump Maintenance:  |  Heat Pump FAQ's:  | Working Fluids


Heat Pump Tips:

  • Set thermostat at one temperature. Constant adjusting can cause higher utility costs.

  • If using your thermostat as a setback type, limit the setbacks to twice a day such as when you are at work and when you are sleeping.

  • Only setback the thermostat 6% of desired temperature( approximately five degrees).

  • In heating, try not to set the thermostat below 65 degrees.

  • In cooling, try not to set the thermostat below 70 degrees. Besides higher utility costs, this can cause the indoor coil to freeze and cause condensation in the house.

  • Make it a habit to look at the outdoor heat pump during the winter months for signs of excessive ice or snow build-up on or around the heat pump. Especially after bad weather.

  • If the unit is covered in ice or snow it must be removed for it to work properly. Turn the thermostat to Emergency heat or off and remove the snow and ice. You can pour warm or hot water over the unit to melt the snow and ice. Even cold water from a hose will help.

  • Do not use any sharp objects to pick or knock the ice off the coils of the heat pump. This could cause severe damage and personal injury.

  • Once the unit is clear of snow and ice turn the thermostat back to normal heating. If the unit ices up again, call for service.

  • Do not let the outdoor unit sit underneath a leaking gutter. In the winter months, water will drip on the top of the unit and freeze solid. This will restrict the air flow and cause the whole unit to freeze-up.

  • Heat Pumps should be elevated 4 to 8 inches above ground level to keep coils clear of snow and ice and to allow for proper drainage. Contact our Service Department if you would like your unit raised.


    Heat Pump Maintenance:

  • Check air filters monthly. Clean or replace as needed.

  • Keep outdoor unit clear of snow, ice, and debris. This includes the top, sides, bottom, and around the heat pump.

  • Keep coils clean. If they get dirty you can use a heavy duty degreaser and hose them down. Just turn the unit off first.

  • Keep shrubs pruned back at least 18 inches around all sides of the heat pump.

  • Flush the indoor condensate drain in spring before using the air conditioning. This is extremely important if the unit is above or in a finished living area.

  • Some fan motors need to be oiled annually.

  • Last but not least, we suggest having your heat pump inspected by a service technician at least once a year.

  • 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.

    My present Heat Pump does not keep us comfortable. Should I replace it with a larger one?
    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 example.

    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 longer.

    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.

    Should I 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.

    Should I 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.

    How often 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.



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