Air Flow Hot To Cold Or Cold To Hot Heat Pump Care and Facts

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Heat Pump Care and Facts

When it comes to home ownership, there are many things a homeowner can do to improve the quality of life around the home. Monitoring the heating and cooling system can not only provide comfort, but also save money. The following are tips on how to better care for and inspect your home’s heat pump.

Take the time to understand how your heat pump works.

There are two parts to a heat pump installation. This is commonly called a split system. There is an outdoor unit with a compressor and coil, also called a heat exchanger. An indoor unit has a few more parts. This includes another coil, grille, electric heating elements, and of course, a fan that blows air through your duct system. Indoor and outdoor units are connected by copper pipes. In these tubes, the gas refrigerant is moved between the outdoor and indoor coils. Even at the lowest temperatures, this refrigerant (like Freon) is able to absorb heat from the air.

In winter, air is drawn from the outdoor coil and the refrigerant absorbs the heat. While already hot, the refrigerant gets even hotter as it passes through the compressor. The hot gas then passes through the copper tubes to the indoor coil. This is where the rest of the previously mentioned parts come into play. As air is pulled through your return grill by the fan, it is pushed into the indoor coil. The hot gas transfers its heat to the air blown across the coil and into the duct system.

When the outside air temperature drops below the freezing mark, some heat pumps need help.

In these more severe weather conditions, the electric heating elements will automatically turn on to assist. Most thermostats have a light to indicate that electric heating is on. They are usually labeled in one of two ways: auxiliary or emergency. Usually, these lights should be seen only in cold weather.

Lowering the temperature of your thermostat will not only save energy, but also save you money. Be careful though, as you can use more energy if you change your settings frequently. It’s usually best to adjust your thermostat just one degree at a time. If you change the temperature by more than one degree, your electric back-up heat will turn on and that means you’re more likely to waste energy.

Don’t forget about your air filter.

The most neglected part of the heat pump is also the most important to maintain – the air filter. This leads to high electricity bills for many! When working properly, air filters collect pollutants and particles that can clog your indoor coil. Not changing or cleaning your air filter means you’re running the risk of a huge increase in energy consumption. Not only will this reduce your comfort, but it can also damage your HVAC equipment! It’s a great idea to change or clean your air filter every four to six weeks.

Make sure your air flows properly.

Another factor to ensure efficient heat pump operation is airflow. Closing more than ten percent of your household registers will hamper this process. It’s also a good idea to check to make sure no registrations are blocked. Air flow is not only important indoors, but outdoors as well. Keep your outdoor unit clear of brush, grass and leaves.

Monitor your devices.

While it is perfectly fine for you to replace the air filters for your system, all other servicing should be performed by your qualified HVAC tech. Call your local heating and cooling contractor when you experience any of the following: a) the indicator light on your thermostat is always on, b) no air flow through your register, c) unusual noises coming from your equipment, d) your outdoor unit is constantly is covered in snow or e) your equipment is running continuously in “good” weather.

Coming back after a power outage.

If you experience a power outage of more than 30 minutes, switch your thermostat to emergency heat. When the power returns, the heating system will run in this mode for approximately one hour. This setting allows the refrigerant in the compressor to be heated by the compressor heater. After that, just let an hour pass and then switch to normal heating (this is not required on many new heat pumps out there, so consult your local heating contractor to find out the steps required for your appliance).

Ultimately, practicing these solutions will not only increase the comfort of your home, but they will also save you money!

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