A well-maintained heat pump is one of the most energy-efficient ways to condition our homes in this region. However, heat pump performance depends on three primary components to keep it running in top-notch condition. The airflow, refrigerant charge and ductwork make a big impact on your electric bills and interior comfort.
- Airflow: A dirty air filter is the most common problem associated with heat pump performance. The dirt that builds up on a filter blocks the air going through the air handler and makes the heat pump work harder to condition your home. If you suspect your system isn’t delivering enough air, start with the filter. Clean or replace it if it’s dirty. If your filter is fine, you may need to ask an HVAC technician to evaluate the amount of air that the air handler circulates through the ductwork. Optimal amounts run between 400 and 500 cubic feet per minute. If the fan isn’t bringing in enough air, the technician may be able to increase its speed.
- Ductwork: As part of the evaluation of your home’s airflow, the HVAC technician will check for leaks in your ductwork. Ducts are responsible for more issues with high conditioning bills than any other problem. You can lose more than 30 percent of the conditioned air to your walls, attic or basement. HVAC professionals can seal the leaks, regardless of their location, which immediately improves your heat pump’s operation and lowers your electric bills.
- Refrigerant charge: An improper refrigerant charge—typically too low—makes your heat pump run longer. When the level gets too low, your system will stop running altogether. Unlike a furnace, heat pumps rely on refrigerant during both the cooling and heating seasons. Running your heat pump with inadequate refrigerant can cause it to fail prematurely. If the pressure is too low, technicians look for leaks in the coils and connectors, fix the problems and replace the refrigerant.
If you suspect that your heat pump performance isn’t what it should be, contact Roth Heating & Cooling. We’ve provided HVAC services for the Portland region since 1976.