How Long Does a Heat Pump Last?
Heat pumps are widely used to heat or cool homes, and considered to be extremely energy efficient.
They work by extracting naturally occurring heat from an external source such as the air or ground, and then transfer that into a home or office.
Some models of heat pumps also have integrated condensers with freon gas for cooling during the hotter summer months.
With this technology being relatively new, many owners do not know the typical life expectancy of a heat pump.
This greatly depends on various factors that we cover in the chapters below.
Average Heat Pump Life Expectancy
Heat pumps are relatively long lasting.
Most heat pumps generally have an expected usable lifespan of 15 years.
In some cases however, the normal wear and tear will only have them last 10 years.
That said, newer and more advanced heat pumps being manufactured recently can last between 20 and 25 years before needing to be replaced.
At the end of the day, there’s numerous factors which affect the life expectancy of heat pumps.
This includes whether the pump is given regular maintenance, and the type of heat pump and its location.
Troubleshooting Heat Pumps
The first sign that a heat pump needs troubleshooting is that it’s not providing a sufficient level of heat in your home.
It’s important to carry out some basic checks first.
Firstly start by checking there’s a power supply to the pump.
The breaker circuit in your consumer unit may have tripped for an unknown reason, for example.
If there’s a live power supply to the unit, switch it on and start to increase the room temperature by a few degrees.
This could help the heat pump to produce more heat.
A heat pump’s external compressor unit might also have become iced over during the winter.
Hence the ice would be preventing the heat from being transferred properly.
Heat pumps have a defrost setting which will help to melt any ice.
You may also wish to check the grill because it might be blocked, and so the refrigerant will not be heated effectively as a result.
In many cases the compressor might have burned out.
Being one of the main moving parts of a heat pump, this is quite normal as it will wear out over time.
Should this occur, it is important to consult with a professional whether it is worthwhile to replace it, or else have a new heat pump installed.
Essential Heat Pump Maintenance
The following are some basic maintenance tasks you should carry out from time to time to have your heat pump working efficiently, and also to help increase its life expectancy.
Cleaning the Unit
The heat pump’s external unit should be cleaned from time to time.
This unit is located outdoors, and consequently it is subjected to the elements.
It can easily get clogged up with debris, such as dirt, soil and leaves.
Take off the panel which lies on top of the heat pump by removing the screws.
Then, remove the front panel from the fan.
Any dirt and dust that is attached to the fan and the surrounding area can then be cleaned away.
Should there be large pieces of debris, it’s best to remove them carefully by hand.
Once the cleaning is done, screw the parts back into place.
Make sure that there’s no plants growing close to the outdoor unit.
Any vegetation within 18 inches of the unit is too close and should be removed.
Cleaning the Filters
The heat pump’s filters should be cleaned on a regular basis.
Leaves and other debris will make the filters dirty, and in some cases even block them.
As a result, the heat pump will not be working efficiently.
Should the blockage be too big, the filters may need to be replaced.
Regularly servicing your heat pump is also recommended.
This is even more important since heat pumps use refrigerant to transfer heat from the air or from the ground, and into your home.
This refrigerant will be checked during the servicing.
In some cases, the refrigerant might be leaking.
The servicing will also include checking the various other parts of the heat pump to clean them, and if necessary consider replacing them.
If your heat pump is in poor condition, contact a heat pump specialist to book a repair.
What Does a Heat Pump Service Involve?
A heat pump service will comprise a number of checks, as well as appropriate corrective action.
- The electrical connections will be checked.
- The filters will be checked and either cleaned or replaced as needed.
- The fins of the outside condenser unit will be cleaned.
- The coils will also be cleaned.
- Motors and capacitors will also be inspected.
- Defrosting might be required, and the defrost cycle will be carried out to see if it is working properly.
- The compressor will be checked as one of the elements which tends to break down mostly due to the fact that it can burn out over time.
- The engineer will also check the run times of the heat pump.
Generally, heat pumps fare much better than oil, gas and electric boilers when it comes to longevity.
The lifespan of a heat pump however depends on the model, manufacturer and the maintenance that’s carried out.
The latter is of great importance since it can prolong the life expectancy and improve the efficiency of the heat pump significantly.
If you need a heat pump installed, repaired or serviced, contact a pump expert for help.