Posts Tagged ‘Heat Pumps’

Question from Vamo: How to Clean the Parts of a Heat Pump?

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

It is very important to keep your Vamo heat pump clean. It improves efficiency, helps performance and prevents malfunctions. Cleaning your heat pump should be part of your home maintenance routine in order to keep the house as comfortable and worry-free as possible.

That is all well and good, but how do you go about cleaning the components of your heat pump. It’s one thing to advise you to clean, clean, clean…but it doesn’t do much good if you do not know how. To correct that, here are some tips to help you clean the different parts of your heat pump.

Caution: before doing any maintenance on your heat pump, including cleaning, be sure to turn off the power to the unit. This is a necessary safety measure.

Filters

  • If you use disposal air filters in your heat pump, skip this part. Just make sure to change them regularly, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • To clean air filters, follow the directions of the manufacturer that were included with the filter. This is also a good time to double check that the filters are installed properly.
  • Clean or replace your filters monthly during heavy use seasons, such as the warm summer months and cold months of late fall and winter.

Coils

  • Remove any debris from the outside of the coils and the surrounding area. Sticks and leaves may have accumulated near the outdoor coils, so just brush them away.
  • Using a soft brush attachment, vacuum the exterior of the coils. Take care not to bend or dent the coils.
  • Using a hose with a spray attachment, flush the coils with water from the inside out. This will remove any stubborn debris. Take care not to spray any electrical components, such as the fan or any nearby wires.
  • While you are inside the unit, vacuum the bottom inside to get rid of any more stray debris.

With that done, put everything back, replace the grille covers and power the heat pump back on. It should run smoothly with a fresh filter and no debris to gum up the works. Clean the coils every few months to keep the heat pump in tip top shape.

Easy Ways to Lower Your Kensington Park Heat Pump’s Energy Bill

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

One of the biggest advantages of a heat pump in Kensington Park is that it is highly efficient for both heating and cooling. There is always room for improvement, though, so here some tips to lower your energy bill even more:

  • Get it checked. It’s been said many times before, but it’s always worth saying again: consistent maintenance is one of the biggest keys to keeping any appliance running efficiently. Get your heat pump inspected by a Kensington Park professional at least once a year. This will keep it in good shape and provide an opportunity to make small repairs, before they have a chance to turn into big problems.
  • Keep it clean. When it comes to HVAC equipment, a clean unit is an efficient unit. Check and replace the filters regularly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep the coils and fan clean. This will also be part of the annual maintenance, but you can – and should — do touch up cleaning on your own.
  • Install a thermostat. A programmable thermostat is a great energy efficiency tool for any home heating and cooling system, not just a heat pump. A thermostat will keep the temperatures lower during the day or any time no one is home, so that you are not wasting heat.
  • Let it run. It may seem counterintuitive, but turning off a heat pump to save energy may actually do more harm than good. Heat pumps operate most efficiently when they stay running on a regular basis. The components don’t need to take time to spin up, and the refrigerant stays warm so it can keep moving. Your best bet is to have your heat pump connected to a programmable thermostat, program it and then stop thinking about it. You’ll save a bundle over manual operation.
  • Protect the outdoor unit. The outdoor portion of your heat pump has to put up with a lot from the elements. Strong winds can damage them or negatively impact the efficient operation of the pump, so keep the outdoor unit protected from wind.

These simple measures, in combination with a highly efficient heat pump, will help slash your energy bills. In addition, check to see if your heat pump is eligible for a federal tax credit, which can save you even more money.

Bradenton Beach HVAC Contractor Tip: Why Do Heat Pumps Need Refrigerant?

Friday, December 16th, 2011

As every Bradenton Beach HVAC contractor knows, a heat pump is not designed solely for heating. In fact, the technology in your heat pump was originally designed for air conditioning and is used today in air conditioners, refrigerators and cooling units in vehicles and airplanes. And the entire process relies on refrigerant – a chemical compound that is compressed and expanded to move energy from one environment to another.

How Refrigerant Makes Heating and Cooling Possible

Your heat pump has multiple components designed to transfer refrigerant from one state to another. The compressor, for example, compresses the refrigerant into a liquid. The liquid is then moved through the expansion valve to the evaporator coils where it expands into a gas. Because refrigerant evaporates at much lower temperatures than water, it does this rapidly and in the process draws heat from the surrounding environment.

That’s how an air conditioner or your refrigerator cool a space. However, in the case of a heat pump, the process can work in both directions. In cooling mode, your heat pump extracts heat from the air going into your home. In the case of heating mode, the heat pump extracts heat from the outside air. Because the heat is transferred into the refrigerant, it can then be recompressed by the compressor. The heat is then is then released in the condenser coils, where the gas returns to liquid state. A blower then distributes air blown across the condenser coils into your home as heat.

Troubleshooting the Process

A heat pump is a complex piece of machinery, but once you know how it works, you can perform quite a bit of troubleshooting should anything go wrong with the device. For example, if you notice cold air coming from your vents, you can check to make sure it isn’t in cooling mode and that there is enough refrigerant in the device.

Keep in mind that if any service needs to be performed on the heat pump involving refrigerant, you should call a professional due to the volatile nature of the chemical. In most municipalities, you must have a license to distribute or dispose of refrigerant and even if not, it can be dangerous to both you and the environment.

Common Longboat Key Heat Pump Problems

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Heat pumps are great pieces of machinery to have in your Longboat Key home, but they are not perfect. They come with their own problems and issues. Usually these can be fixed pretty easily, but it’s good to know what you are looking for.

Below are some common problems encountered by heat pump owners, along with some brief troubleshooting and repair advice. However, for any serious repair job, it is recommended that you call in a professional to fix the problem. This is to ensure the best performance of your heat pump, as well as for your own safety.

  1. No Heat – Obviously, this is a problem. A heat pump should do two things—heat and cool. If it’s not heating at all, something is wrong. Sometimes, this is just a matter of the power supply being interrupted. Press the “Reset” button on the power supply. If that does not fix it, it could be that the power supply has failed or the motor is overloaded.
  2. Incorrect Temperature – For example, you set the thermostat at 72 degrees, but even after several hours, the temperature won’t get over 70 degrees. This can be a problem with the sensor in the thermostat or with the heat pump itself. However, it could also just be the result of very cold temperatures outside. Heat pumps have trouble keeping up when the weather is consistently below 30 degrees Fahrenheit or so, so it may just need help in the form of a supplemental heat supply.
  3. It’s Noisy – Heat pumps are generally designed to run very quietly, so if you notice a lot of noise, there is probably something going on. Common culprits for this type of issue include loose connections, like screws, nuts and bolts. Check for any loose fittings on the heat pump. Also, make sure the contractor who does your annual heat pump inspection tightens these fittings as part of his maintenance routine.
  4. Frozen – This can be indicative of a few underlying problems, but the most common is dirt in the air filter. When filters get clogged, the heat pump can get frosted, ultimately leading to freezing. Check the air filter and make sure to change all air filters regularly.

Heat pumps can experience other issues, but these are some of the more common ones. Generally, though, heat pumps are pretty headache-free machines. Be sure to call a professional repair person if you experience any issues with your heat pump.

A Question from Terra Ceia Island: What Happens if My Heat Pump Loses Power?

Monday, December 5th, 2011

One of the advantages of a heat pump in your Terra Ceia Island home is that it operates on electricity, so you don’t need to worry about having maintaining a supply of fuel to keep it running. Where a furnace might call for you to purchase supplies of oil or natural gas, and a wood stove means keeping potentially messy firewood around, a heat pump runs cleanly on electricity.

Heat pumps are good at using electricity, too. They are often able to produce heat energy that can be as much as three times the electricity they draw to produce it. This means not just convenience, but also a big savings, just by virtue of using electrical power.

The risk there, of course, is that if and when the power goes out, so does the heat pump. That means when a big winter storm drops a tree on the local power line, things can get cold inside mighty quickly. For these situations, you should have a backup heating solution on hand to keep everyone comfortable in the short term. And, as a responsible homeowner, you likely already have this taken care of.

But what happens when the power comes back on? Can you just fire your heat pump right back up without missing a beat?

The short answer is “no.” You should not do that, for at least two reasons. First of all, after any power outage, you should always take care to turn on appliances gradually over a period of time rather than all at once in order to avoid a spike in demand at the power company, which can blow a grid. That’s just a general tip.

Specific to heat pumps, though, there is a unique concern. If the heat pump loses power for more than 30 minutes, the refrigerant can get too cold to flow properly, so turning it right back on can cause the whole thing to conk right out. Instead, do the following:

  1. Make sure the heat pump is off. You can do this during the power outage.
  2. Once power comes back on, turn the heat pump to the “Emergency Heat” setting. This will allow the compressor to warm up slowly and get the refrigerant warm enough to start flow freely again.
  3. Wait. The time you need to wait varies depending on the size and manufacturer of your heat pump, so refer to the manual. In general, you should wait at least 6 hours.

After this process, your heat pump should be ready to resume normal operation without issue.

What Is the Emergency Setting on My Heat Pump? A Question from Cortez

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

While installing or inspecting your Cortez home’s heat pump, you may have noticed that little switch or button labeled something like “Emergency Mode.” And then, you probably scratched your head and thought, “what is that for?”

Hopefully, the emergency setting is not something you will ever have to use. But, it is there for a reason, so it’s possible you may have to resort to it at some point. In that case, it makes sense to know what it is first.

The emergency setting on your heat pump interrupts the normal operation of the device. The compressor shuts off, so the heat pump no longer pumps heat from the outside into the home. Instead, the internal heating element is activated. This backup system is designed to provide a sufficient, albeit minimal, amount of heat when the heat pump is not working properly. The idea is that the element can keep your home warm enough while you get the heat pump fixed.

That’s what the emergency setting is, but when would you use it?

It’s not a trick question. As the name implies, you only want to use this setting in an emergency. For example, if the heat pump has frozen and isn’t operating, the best course of action is to switch on the emergency mode and call a professional to repair it.

You would also want to use the emergency mode when recovering from a power outage. Any time a heat pump is without power for more than thirty minutes the refrigerant can cool and get too thick to properly flow through the coils. Turning the pump back on in this situation can damage it, so instead you would use the emergency mode for a while to warm the refrigerant back up, then return to operating the heat pump normally.

The emergency setting is not to be used in place of a supplemental heating system. If there is an uncharacteristic cold snap, and your heat pump can’t keep up, then it makes sense to use the emergency setting to keep the house warm. However, if you live in a colder northern climate, where temperatures routinely drop below 30 degrees in the winter, you should have a supplemental heating system in addition to the heat pump. Using the emergency heat setting regularly is not a good idea.

What Are Your Heat Pump Options? A Question from South Venice

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Once you’ve decided that a heat pump really is the best option for your South Venice home, you’ll still have a lot of options to consider. There are actually quite a few types of heat pumps and they can vary considerably in terms of their energy efficiency and other available features.

For instance, you can choose to go with a heat pump with a one-speed, two-speed or multi-speed compressor. Single speed compressors are only capable of operating at full capacity. That means that they’ll certainly be able to keep your home warm, but they may be working harder than they need to at some points.

A two-speed or multi-speed compressor, on the other hand, can be adjusted to more appropriately fit the heating and cooling needs of the moment. There will certainly be times when you don’t need your heat pump to be going all out, and the ability to regulate this level of performance can benefit you in several ways.

It will allow you to maintain a more consistent indoor temperature to be sure, but it will also reduce the overall wear and tear on your heat pump over time. If your heat pump doesn’t have to run all out all of the time, it simply won’t wear out as fast, and that will save you both money and frustration in the long run. It’s also worth noting that heat pumps with two-speed or multi-speed compressors are more easily integrated into a zone control system if you have one in your home.

However, regardless of what type of compressor your heat pump has, you’ll also have to examine the various heat pump models available to determine what their actual energy efficiency ratings are. Each heat pump actually comes with two ratings, one for heating and one for cooling.

The heating season performance factor (HSPF) reflects the heat pump’s heating efficiency, while the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) is a measure of its cooling efficiency. The higher both of these numbers are, the higher the efficiency of the unit. But you don’t necessarily need both numbers to be as high as possible to get the best heat pump for your home.

If you’re going to be using the heat pump more for cooling than for heating because of the climate where you live, you’ll want to make sure the unit you get has as high a SEER as possible, but you won’t have to worry too much about the HSPF. But if you’re going to need more heating than cooling, you should pay more attention to the HSPF than the SEER.

Heat Pump Maintenance: A Tip from Big Pass

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Heating and cooling your Big Pass home is a priority. You need your home and family to be comfortable all year round, so you either got or are considering a heat pump. These machines are great because under the right circumstances, they are essentially all-inclusive and incredibly efficient solutions for all your home heating and cooling needs.

Notice the “under the right circumstances” part. A number of things have to be considered when choosing a heat pump, such as the climate and the size of your home. But these are not the only circumstances that influence how well your heat pump works for you. Proper maintenance is a vital component of heat pump ownership, ensuring that you get the best performance out of your heat pump for the longest time possible.

A major part of properly maintaining any machine is to keep it clean. A heat pump is no exception. Dirt and dust can affect the efficiency of your heat pump, as well as speed up corrosion problems. Keep the compressor and coils clean. Check them monthly or so and remove any accumulated dirt. Also, consistently check and change filters according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Simple cleaning is an easy and effective first step to heat pump maintenance, but there are some things that you just won’t be able to do on your own. For more intensive maintenance, it is best to call in a professional for an annual inspection.

During a routine maintenance check of your heat pump, a technician will inspect the whole heat pump system for problems. He will clean the compressor and coils, tighten any connections that may have loosened up and change the filters as needed. In addition, a skilled technician will be able to detect any early signs of trouble and make necessary repairs to prevent break downs. These small repairs can prevent big problems later on, thereby preventing some serious discomfort and a possible big expense.

If you are considering a heat pump as a heating and cooling solution for your home, great. If you have already decided on one and had it installed, congratulations on making a smart decision. Now, make another smart decision to protect that investment by keeping your new heat pump properly maintained.