If this is the first time that you are purchasing a heat pump then it is very important that you follow a heat pump guide in order to make the best final decision.
Without careful instructions and a comprehensive knowledge of how the heat pump works, you may struggle to, firstly, find the right product, and secondly, use the pump efficiently and in the correct manner. In addition, it is important that you know how to deal with any problems that the heat pump may present.
How Does a Heat Pump Work?
At the most basic level we can say that the process occurs in two steps:
- A heat pump draws heat from the surrounding environment
- It then pumps that heat into another environment
The main parts of a heat pump are:
- An outdoor coil
- A compressor
- An indoor coil
No matter how hot or cold it is outside, there is heat in the air. No matter how small this amount of heat is, the outdoor coil is able to extract it from the air and pump it into your home where it will keep you and your family warm. When you want to use the pump to heat up your home, the outdoor coil will suck the heat from the air that passes over it. This will then be put into the refrigerant in the heat pump. The warm air makes the refrigerant warm in turn and then the refrigerant becomes a warm vapor. This warm vapor then travels to the indoor coil. As the name suggests, the indoor coil is the part of the heat pump system which is inside the home. The air inside the house will then heat up when it comes into contact with the indoor coil. The warm air travels through the vents in the house, delivering heat in the process.
Heat pump systems are cheaper than most other methods for heating your home. This is because they work all year round, and do not require energy to stop and start like other systems.
Some people think that a heat pump is a good investment as it will save you a lot of money in terms of energy bills; other people think that it is an ugly machine that ruins your back yard. You will have to consider the pros and cons for yourself.
Instructions for Using a Heat Pump
There are a few things that you need to keep in mind if you want to be certain that your heat pump runs at the most efficient level possible and that it does not give you too many problems in the long run.
The temperature setting is very important. You need to make sure that you keep the temperature at a comfortable level as this will save on power. Also be aware of how hard your pump is working. If it works too hard it will cost you more money, something which you should try to avoid. In many cases it is better to find other ways to make you feel warmer than to turn up the temperature of the heat pump. Instead of making your heat pump work harder you could, for example, put on an extra sweater. This will save you money and if you are running the pump at a comfortable level, an extra sweater should be all that you need to stay warm enough to be comfortable yourself.
Keeping it Clean
It is important that you clean and change the filters on your heat pump on a regular basis. This is to make sure that it continues running at an optimal level. When you do this you need to ensure that you change and clean:
- The heat filter
- The water filter
Both are equally important in the efficient and safe running of the heat pump, so do not forget to check both. It is better and cheaper to try to clean them rather than replace them every time they get dirty.
Be on the lookout for power outages as these can affect the optimal running of your heat pump. To do this properly you should:
- Ensure the gas is switched on
- Ensure that the pilot light is lit on gas-powered heat pumps
- Check the digital output of electric units to see if a manual restart of the computer is required
Heat Pump Guide to Choosing the Best Pump for Your Home
Is a Heat Pump Right for Your Home?
There are several factors to consider when deciding whether or not a heat pump is right for your home, including:
- The climate in your home
- The type of fuel prevalent in your area,
- The amount of insulation you have in your home
- The amount of other energy-efficient features you have in your home
Remember that heat pumps work better in average temperatures than in very cold temperatures, so if you live in an extremely cold area, a heat pump may not be the best solution for you as they are aimed at making cooler climates more comfortable.
Heat Pump Efficiency Ratings
Something that you should really take the time to ascertain is the efficiency ratings of each of the heat pumps you are considering. You need to consider the following factors:
- The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) for cooling
- The Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) for heating
- The Energy Star rating
The main advantage of a heat pump is that it can be more energy-efficient than other heating systems. However, you should remember that in this regard some heat pumps are still better than others, so you should look out for the best possible options that are available to you. The HSPF rating is probably the most important rating to take into account.
Sizing a Heat Pump
When choosing a heat pump you need to consider the size of your home, as this will play a very important role in which model to purchase. The size of a heat pump is measured in tons. You will need, on average 1 ton to every 400 square feet of living space in older homes. So if you want to heat 1600 square feet of space, you will need a 4 ton heat pump. This is a helpful calculation to abide by, but if you are not a specialist, it is better to have a professional help you and confirm which heat pump would be the most effective in your home.
Troubleshooting Heat Pump Problems
There are a few things that you can do yourself if your heat pump is giving your trouble. It is amazing how many heat pump problems can be resolved without having to call out an expensive contractor to solve the problem for you:
- Firstly, you have to be aware of any frost build up that occurs on the coils. Frost build up is a natural part of the system, but you still want to keep the system relatively clean so that it can function reliably. Focus on the outdoor coils in winter and on the indoor coils in summer when addressing the issue of frost build up.
- If it seems as though your heat pump is working harder than it normally would to provide you with warm air you should try replacing the filter. This may be what is causing the blockage that prevents the warm air from getting out.
- If the regular maintenance that you perform to keep frost build up from being a problem doesn’t work, consult the user’s manual that comes with the pump. This will show you how to clean the air flow sensing tube. Only do this if the problem is related to a frost build up you cannot solve in any other way.
- Keep an eye on the refrigerant. If at any point you notice that it is leaking a red substance, all someone to help you. This could lead to a complete breakdown of the system if it is not properly and quickly dealt with.
- If your problem is that the heat pump smells when it kicks in, check the drip pan. See if there is anything unusual there, and if there is, call someone to repair the system.
- If it is cycling on and off too frequently, check that the temperature is properly set. If the temperature is properly set the problem could be with the anticipator, and you will need repair help to deal with this.
Now that you have a working knowledge of how a heat pump works and now that you know how to choose the best heat pump for your home and deal with any problems that arise, you are finally ready to make your purchase. Clearly there are a lot of things to consider in this regard, so it is important that you give this purchase the thought that it needs. Heat pumps are expensive products, so you will want to ensure that your money is spent wisely on a product that will last for years to come. That is why it is so important for you to be knowledgeable on the upkeep and maintenance of your pump in order to lengthen its lifespan, as well as save costs on professional maintenance, where possible of course.