Keeping your heat pump in excellent condition all through the winter heating season is a must if you don't want to get cold. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to minimize the chances of a malfunction. The following tips can help you with this.
Tip #1: Protect the outdoor unit
All heat pumps have an exterior unit, which can end up posing an issue in the event of heavy snow fall. If snow drifts up against the unit it won't work properly. Another issue is sometimes fall leaves blow against and enshroud the unit. Both problems are simple to avoid with some foresight. Install a low fence several feet out from the unit to create a snow break. Then, inspect the area around the unit every week or two to make sure nothing is resting against it. Also, take a few minutes after each fresh snow to sweep it away from your heat pump unit.
#2: Stay on top of filter changes
Heat pumps have one thing in common with other furnace options – they have a filter. Air flow will suffer with a clogged filter, which means the heat pump won't be able to perform as well. In general, the filter should be changed every month or two through the heating season. If you have indoor pets that shed, more frequent changes may also be needed. Stock up on extra filters and keep them on hand so you have no reason to postpone this necessary task.
#3: Check the defrost function weekly
Once outdoor temperatures drop below freezing, it's important that you make sure the unit defrosts properly. The exposed outdoor coils can become encased in ice, which means the pump won't be able to function. A quick glance over is all that is needed to reveal the problem. You should also verify that there is nothing putting a larger than necessary ice load on the coils. For example, if the pump unit isn't raised above ground level, water may not be able to drain off properly. Another common issue is for roof water runoff to land directly on the unit, where it freezes quicker than the unit's defrost function can melt the ice. Installing gutters can fix this issue. If you aren't sure why the coil aren't defrosting, you need to have the unit serviced.
Contact a heating service company to come and check your heat pump if you need more assistance.