A well-installed, good quality ground or air source heat pump will require very little maintenance and should last for at least 20 to 30 years.
To ensure proper functionality, it is advisable that you have your installation checked annually either by a qualified engineer or installer or by the system’s owner.
Your supplier/installer should provide you details pertaining your heat pump’s exact maintenance requirements, and how its maintenance can be optimised.
If you own a heat pump, here are maintenance tips that will prove handy in guaranteeing continued performance.
Air Source Heat Pump Maintenance
If you own an air source heat pump or are looking to acquire one, you will be glad to know that this particular system requires very little on-going maintenance. While each air source heat pump is different, there aren’t very many differences when it comes to maintenance. Manufacturers still advise owners about what their systems require in regards to seasonal or annual maintenance.
As an air source heat pump owner, here are some maintenance tasks you can perform to ensure that your system operates as intended:
- Clean fans and foils (if need be)
- Swap out or clean filters
- Clean the system’s supply
- Ensure air flow is not blocked by debris (dust, leaves, etc.)
- Power off the system and clean/check the fan blades
- Return registers inside the property
Before winter (or summer if you use your heat pump for cooling), it’s recommended that you have the unit checked and serviced by an air source heat pump expert. Experts conduct a more comprehensive audit of the system’s components and are better placed at identifying issues that could degrade a heat pump’s performance which users wouldn’t spot or diagnose. These checks involve the following:
- Checking refrigerant pressure and levels
- Checking ducts for leakage and repairing them if need be
- Measuring airflow to see if it is correct
- Inspecting ducts, indoor coils, filters and blowers for dirt and other debris that could hamper air flow
- Checking for system leaks
- Checking all electrical contacts and ensuring that they’re well insulated
- Lubricating motors, moving belts and checking for wear and tear or damage
- Checking reverse cooling/heating controls and ensuring they’re operating as required
- Checking and testing thermostat under normal operating conditions
Unlike other types of renewable energy technologies like wind turbines and solar PV which use expensive inverters, air source heat pumps generally don’t require the replacement of costly parts during their lifespan.
Ground Source Heat Pump Maintenance
Ground source heat pumps use the same operation principle as refrigerators only that they work in reverse, which makes maintenance limited. However, a majority of ground source heat pumps will require annual checkup by a professional technician to ensure that they are operating within their tolerances as under performing heat pumps could lose up to 25 per cent of their efficiency in both operating energy consumption and under performance. Please note that if the system’s thermostat is set very low, this could cause the system to kick in the rather expensive auxiliary heater. As a result, the unit will use more than the normal amount of energy it needs to operate.
Various ground source heat pump manufacturers will specify a unit’s recommended service and maintenance schedules in their documentation. So, before you buy a unit, it is advisable that you do some research into which heat pumps offer the most reasonable maintenance requirements. Search for other people’s comments and recommendations concerning particular units to get an idea of the system’s performance and dependability. Also, remember to ask questions regarding the unit’s you are considering to ensure you get the best.
If you own or plan to get a closed loop heat pump, these are the main components that need checking:
- The compressor – if it fails, the entire thing will have to be replaced as it’s a sealed unit
- The control equipment and electronics
- Above ground pipes and connectors
- The water pump – which is the only movable part of the system
- The bleed system, radiators, and system fluid
- Coolant/anti-freeze fluid in the ground array – it is advisable that you check if the chemical mixture is correct
It is worth noting that devices designed to contain or containing F-Gas refrigerants can only be worked on by “F” gas certified engineers. Additionally, if you want a large commercial heat pump, keep in mind that larger commercial systems are subject to stricter maintenance requirement.
A majority of ground source heat pumps are designed to last for more than 25 years, with most continuing to operate without a hitch well beyond this period. Since ground source heat pumps have very little components making up the system, this type of renewable heat generation is providing to be one of the best and most efficient heating methods currently.
Heat Pump Warranties
A majority of ground and air source heat pumps come with a five to ten-year warranty on labour and parts as standard. However, if well-maintained, your heat pump could last much longer than this (even 20 to 40 years.) Most heat pumps also come inclusive of free annual services; however, not all installers and manufacturers offer this provision.