Like all heating and cooling systems, proper maintenance remains the key to efficient heat pump operation. The difference in electric use between a well-maintained heat pump and a severely neglected one ranges from 10 percent to 25 percent!
Remember not to set back a heat pump’s thermostat if it causes any backup heating system to kick on; they are usually more expensive to operate. Continuous indoor fan operation can also hurt heat pump performance unless you use a high-efficiency, variable-speed fan motor. Operate your heat pump with the “auto” fan setting on your thermostat.
Clean or change filters once a month or as needed, and maintain the system according to manufacturer’s instructions. Dirty filters, coils, and fans reduce airflow, which will decrease system performance and possibly damage the compressor. Clean outdoor coils whenever they appear dirty; occasionally, turn off power to the fan and clean it; remove vegetation and clutter from around the outdoor unit. Clean the supply and return registers within your home, and straighten their fins if bent.
You should also have a professional technician service your heat pump at least every year. The technician should do the following:
*Inspect ducts, filters, blower, and indoor coils for dirt and other obstructions
*Diagnose and seal duct leakage
*Verify adequate airflow by measurement
*Verify correct refrigerant charge by measurement
*Check for refrigerant leaks
*Inspect electric terminals, and, if necessary, clean and tighten connections, and apply non-conductive coating
*Lubricate motors and inspect belts for tightness and wear
*Verify correct electric control, making sure that heating is locked out when the thermostat calls for cooling and vice versa
*Verify correct thermostat operation.
To learn more about heat pumps, visit www.energysavers.gov.