When you’re getting a new heat pump, preparing ahead of time will help you realize its full potential. The main factors that affect how well the heat pump performs are your home’s energy efficiency, your home’s ductwork, and how the system is installed, especially the outdoor condenser.
Sealing the air leaks in your home and increasing attic insulation will improve the new system’s ability to condition your home. Inspect your home’s exterior and caulk wherever you see cracks or gaps. Use weatherstripping to seal doors and window sashes. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends at least 16 inches of insulation in your attic to slow thermal transfer. When you stop air infiltration and increase thermal resistance, you may be able to choose a smaller heat pump, which saves money initially, and you’ll enjoy lower energy bills during the life of the system.
The HVAC contractor should thoroughly inspect your ductwork to verify that it’s properly configured for the new heat pump. The contractor should also evaluate ducts for leakage, which should be no more than 10 percent. Duct leaks will impede the performance of the system, which can’t perform optimally if conditioned air isn’t going where it’s intended. Leaky ducts also decrease indoor air quality and could pose a health hazard.
Each room should have a return register, and if the ducts run through uninsulated areas, they should be insulated to reduce thermal losses. The joints of the ducts need to be sealed with mastic sealant or metal tape.
The outdoor condenser needs to be placed in as shady a place as possible, away from trees and shrubs that create a lot of debris. It should also have plenty of free space on all sides. The condenser contains a coil through which the refrigerant circulates. The fan inside the condenser pulls air over the coils and anything that interferes with the airflow slows the cooling process when the pump is in the air conditioning mode.
If you’d like more information about getting the most from a new heat pump, contact us at (503) 266-1249. We’ve provided superior HVAC services for the greater Portland area since 1976.