Tips for Operating and Maintaining Your Heat Pump


Heat Pump (traditional)

A traditional Heat Pump is a type of heating and/or cooling system that uses the temperature differential between the air inside of your home, and the air outside of your home.

A Heat Pump consists of an outdoor coil, indoor coil, and a compressor. In warm weather, the indoor coil picks up heat from the indoor air and transfers it, using a circulating refrigerant and a compressor, to the outside air In cold weather, the opposite takes place. The indoor air is circulated throughout the indoor space using a blower and duct system.

Even when it is below freezing outside of your home, there is still heat energy in the air. During the wintertime, a traditional Heat Pump is designed to extract the heat from the air outside of your home, and use this as a source of heat for your home. And if your Heat Pump is designed to be part of your central air conditioning system, then in the summertime the process is reversed, and your Heat Pump will extract heat from the air inside of your home and transfer it outside of your home (cooling your home).

A traditional Heat Pump is different than a Geothermal Heat Pump. A traditional Heat Pump uses the outside air as the heat source or sink, where a Geothermal Heat Pump uses the ground about 20 feet below the surface as the heat source or sink.

If you have Central Air Conditioning or Forced Air Heat with your traditional Heat Pump, then you should also put a checkmark to include them as part of your home features in your Home Wizard app.


Routine Care

Replace or wash air filter

Your heat pump draws air from the outside of your house which carries dust, pollen, debris, etc.There are two reasons for replacing or washing this air filter:

As a filter gets dirty over time, it begins to clog with dust, pollen, etc.A dirty filter means the heat pump’s fan motor has to work harder to move air through it, which means it has to consume more energy and is therefore more expensive to operate.

The filter helps to clean the circulating air, which makes room cleaning easier and less frequent, helps improve air quality, and helps to provide relief to allergy sufferers.

Timing: Monthly during season: June, July, August (yearly)

Clean fins on outside condenser unit

The purpose of this maintenance task is to help maintain the energy efficiency of the heat exchanger unit of your heat pump.

A dirty unit is less efficient at doing its job, which means that your air conditioning unit has to work harder, which causes it to consume more energy, and shortens its service life.

Timing: Every 6 months: May, September (yearly)

Lubricate and adjust compressor motor

This task helps to extend the useful life of the motor.

Timing: May (every 3 years)

How To

In accordance with your manufacturer’s recommendations, you should lubricate and adjust the heat pump’s compressor motor.


Avoiding Unscheduled Repairs
Energy Savings
Maintaining Value

The benefits of this task are relatively high, in that it helps to extend the life of a relatively expensive piece of equipment for your home.


The cost of this task is moderate, depending on the design of your heat pump, and how easy or difficult it is to lubricate the motor.


Heat Pump Operating Tips

If you have a heat pump, then you know how they are more efficient than traditional heating and air conditioning systems, and that they allow you to have only one system instead of having to install separate systems for heating and cooling. But did you know that there are ways to operate your heat pump to make it even more efficient? And that there certain things that you must do to protect it?

This article covers operating tips for how to maximize the efficiency of your heat pump, and some do’s and dont’s for protecting your system.


Unlike traditional heating and cooling systems, heat pumps are actually most efficient when they are run continuously, so you don’t want to be turning your system off and on.  Just leave it always turned on.

Your system was designed to run with a certain airflow, so do not close off more than 10% of the air registers that you have in your home. And if your system does not have a variable speed fan, then do not operate the system in manual mode, as operating at a continuous fan level can degrade your heat pump’s performance.

When you are operating your system in “heating” mode, avoid changing your thermostat setting by more than one degree at a time, to avoid wasting energy. And also, do not turn down your heat pump’s thermostat if it causes the backup heater to come on, as this is more expensive to operate (see costs and reviews of programmable thermostat for heat pumps).

To help maintain top efficiency, you should periodically clean your system’s indoor unit heat exchanger using a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment (helpful accessory: HVAC coil cleaner). And each year you should have a professional do a complete inspection, cleaning, and adjustment of your heat pump system.

And lastly, you should be sure that there is adequate airflow around your outside condenser unit. But you need to be careful that it is not exposed to direct high winds, as this can actually reduce the efficiency of your system.


If you ever experience a power outage lasting more than 30 minutes, then you should be sure to switch your thermostat to the “emergency heat” setting and keep it in this mode for several hours, to ensure that the refrigerant in the system is adequately warmed up.

You should never shut off the power to your outside condenser unit unless you are cleaning or working on it. And if you are ever cleaning or working on your outside condenser unit, you need to be absolutely sure to shut off the power to it.

And another reason that your outdoor condenser unit should be protected from direct high winds is to prevent it from being damaged by flying debris.

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