How Often Should a Heat Pump Service Be Carried Out?
Regular servicing is important for any mechanical system, in order to maintain efficiency and longevity.
This also applies to heat pumps, be it air source or ground source systems.
Should I Service My Heat Pump Regularly?
Since a heat pump uses refrigerant in order to transfer heat into your home, it goes without saying that from time to time this will need checking.
Any signs of refrigerant leakages will also be checked.
The heating engineer will also check a number of things, depending on the type of heat pump you have.
For instance, they will check that the area around the pump is as clear as possible.
Any debris or any foreign substance that could cause problems to the pump, such as leaves which could block filters will be removed.
The engineer will also check the various parts, including the fan motors, capacitors and electrical connections.
This ensures everything is in good running order.
Another important part of the service is to check the compressor, and the run times of the heat pump.
The pump’s fan blades and filters will also get a much needed cleaning as after a year, or more, they are bound to become dirty, and sometimes even blocked.
In case the filters need replacing, the engineer will also see to that.
How Long Do Heat Pumps Last?
With regular servicing and maintenance, you can expect a heat pump system to last around 20, or even as long as 30 years.
So, despite the fact that the initial cost is considerably high, at least the longevity of such pumps is very good.
Besides, you can also benefit from compensation from the RHI scheme.
It is important to point out that moving parts, such as the compressor, could easily wear out over time.
In such cases you might need to replace the compressor.
Since this could be quite costly, it is best to consider the cost of doing so versus getting a new and more modern heat pump.
Some heat pump manufacturers will provide warranties which could include the replacement of certain parts for free, so it is best to check what different warranties cover.
Troubleshooting Heat Pumps
The first sign that there’s something wrong with your heat pump is if you notice there’s not a good enough provision of heat in your premises.
You may wish to carry out some basic checks yourself, such as ensuring the power is on, and trying to increase the temperature by a few degrees.
If this does not lead the heat pump to produce increased ambient temperatures, then you may wish to contact a professional to check it out.
It is also worth mentioning that during the cold winter months, the outdoor unit could have become iced over.
As a result, the ice might be preventing the proper transfer of heat between the refrigerant and the air.
Heat pumps will usually have a defrost setting which will help to gradually melt the ice.
In some cases, it could also be that the grill is blocked and as a result the refrigerant will not be heating effectively.
Ground Source Heat Pump Servicing
Carrying out a heat pump service once a year is highly recommended.
You might not be aware that most ground source heat pumps would be operating at only around 75% efficiency.
This underperformance can lead to more operating energy consumption.
Some manufacturers might indicate on the documentation or warranty what is the recommended maintenance and servicing schedule for the particular heat pump.
So you may wish to check this out before purchasing a heat pump to opt for the most favourable servicing and maintenance requirements.
In the case of a standard closed loop heat pump system, the following components and parts will be checked out during the servicing:
- The compressor
- The water pump
- The various electronics and control equipment
- The pipes and connectors situated above ground
- The radiators and the bleed system / check fluid
- The coolant fluid
Air Source Heat Pump Servicing
An air source heat pump operates by absorbing heat from the air outside.
Then this heat from the air will move into a refrigerant, through a compressor, where its temperature is increased.
This heat energy is then used in various ways, such as to power radiators, supply underfloor heating, and hot water supply.
Air source heat pumps need considerably less ongoing maintenance.
This is because air source heat pumps do not use coal or oil, which support combustion-based energy, but rather rely solely on air which is less disruptive.
The manufacturer will advise according to the particular unit.
But by following the steps below seasonally, or at least, annually, you should expect your heat pump to operate at optimal efficiency and to last several years:
- Cleaning filters, coild and fans
- Ensuring that there is a proper air flow and there are no leaves, dust or other debris which could potentially cause a blockage.
- Clean the supply and return registers
- Check fan blades, and clean them.
The above steps can be carried out by the property owner every now and then, but for a more thorough inspection and service, it’s best to have a professional check out the heat pump annually, ideally before the winter season sets in.
The engineer will be able to see to the following:
- Inspect filters and ducts, so as to check if there are any leakages or repair requirements
- Check the blower and indoor coil and remove any dirt or obstructions
- Checking the valves have freedom of movement, and that they reset properly
- Checking that the primary system pressure does not rise above the recommended value
- Measure the airflow
- Check the refrigerant levels
- Check for any system leaks
- Check reverse heating and cooling controls
- Check all electrical components
- Lubricate motors and moving belts
- Check and test the thermostat
- Check for any signs of damage, wear and tear
Regular maintenance and servicing is of the essence.
It is also worth noting that most manufacturers will offer lengthy warranties, generally around 5-10 years on parts and labour, as well as the possibility of extending the warranty against a fee.
Most heat pump systems can operate efficiently for around 20 years if scheduled maintenance is carried out.
But if your heat pump is failing to work correctly, book a service with a fully qualified heating pump engineer.