If you have a heat pump in your Kennesaw, Georgia home, you may be confused about when to schedule professional maintenance. Many households rely on separate heating and cooling systems, with each requiring servicing just once a year. However, given that heat pumps pull double duty, these units need twice the normal amount of care. After all, they get used all year long and often with few to no breaks along the way. In general, you should have your heat pump serviced just before the start of the heating season, and then again right before summer rolls in.
Why Heat Pumps Need Twice-Yearly Maintenance and Inspections
At the very minimum, every heat pump should be serviced at least once annually. These visits give HVAC technicians the chance to:
- Catch and correct minor issues early-on
- Replace worn components before they fail
- Prime heat pumps for assured efficiency
- Assess the remaining lifespans of heat pumps
Between service visits, there are several maintenance tasks that you can take care of on your own, including:
- Changing or replacing the unit’s air filter
- Inspecting the condensate drain for drips or clogs
- Removing dirt, dust, and other debris from the exterior portion of the heat pump
It’s always important to keep areas near your heat pump’s exterior free of obstruction so that normal airflow isn’t being impeded. Make sure that you regularly clip the lawn in this area, trim nearby bushes and shrubs, and remove fast-growing weeds.
However, even with these measures, twice-annual visits are perfect for making your heat pump’s transition from household heater to household air conditioner a smooth and seamless one. Your HVAC company can reverse the toll that each season has taken while getting your heat pump ready for all new demands. Scheduling twice-yearly visits is the best way to ensure that you aren’t left without a functional air conditioner in the middle of summer or an under-performing heater during a long and especially severe cold snap. It also extends the lifespan of this important equipment.
General Recommendations vs. the Manufacturer’s Recommendations for Maintenance
The general recommendation for professional heat pump maintenance is twice each year. If you can’t manage this, you may be able to get by with one maintenance appointment annually, but this schedule won’t do much for extending the lifespan of your heat pump or improving its efficiency. Moreover, with 12 long months between each service visit, there’s a far greater likelihood of having small problems spiral out of control before they’re identified and dealt with.
In some instances, even two visits a year won’t be enough. This is certainly the case for large commercial facilities with heat pumps and residential properties with larger than average service areas. In situations like these, both heat pump manufacturers and heat pump installers often recommended three to four tune-ups each year. The more demand that this equipment faces, the more often it should be professionally inspected and cared for. Service visits should also be scheduled more frequently as a heat pump nears the end of its lifespan.
Scheduling Heat Pump Maintenance
Ultimately, your heat pump maintenance schedule should be based upon the manufacturer’s recommendations for professional service and your heat pump installer’s recommendations. Manufacturers know the needs and nuances of the equipment they’ve produced. However, HVAC technicians who’ve put these units in understand the needs and nuances of the environment. In addition to considering the requirements of specific heat pump models, they account for factors like local climate, household size, general home efficiency, and more.
If you live in a poorly insulated home or in one where doors are frequently opened and closed, stepping up your maintenance schedule with one or more additional visits each year is probably a good idea. You should also add another visit or two if the weather has been especially harsh or if you’ve used your heat pump during times of exceedingly low outdoor air quality. Anything that subjects heat pumps to significant amounts of extra stress warrants additional care.
Maintaining the Manufacturer’s Warranty
One of the most important things to remember when setting your heat pump maintenance schedule is that diligence in this area is necessary for keeping the manufacturer’s warranty intact. At the bare minimum, you must meet the basic requirements for maintenance that have been set forth by your system’s manufacturer. If you don’t, you could lose all of the protections that this important agreement provides.
What to Expect During Heat Pump Maintenance Service
Heat pumps require far more than regular filter changes and a few quick wipe-downs. During these visits, your HVAC technician will:
- Inspect all electrical terminals
- Tighten and clean all electrical connections as needed
- Assess and correct the refrigerant charge
- Verify sufficient airflow
- Look for and resolve air leaks
- Check belts for wear and adequate tension
- Ensure correct sensor operation at the thermostat
- Inspect and clean the condensate base pan and drain holes
During this service, all dirt and debris will be removed from the indoor coil, blower, air registers, filters, and other components.
If your current heat pump has provided years of reliable service without a single maintenance visit, chalk this up to luck. Regular maintenance limits the likelihood of major repair issues, improves system efficiency, ensures optimum performance, and allows for better indoor air quality. At Controlled Climate Services, we’ve been providing reliable heating and cooling service to residents of the greater Kennesaw, GA area for more than 25 years. We also offer heat pump installation, maintenance, and repairs, as well as top-rated indoor air quality services. Call us today to schedule an appointment.