Best Practices For Optimal Heat Pump Performance — Through The End Of Summer

Today, heat pump performance is better than ever. The technology has advanced significantly over the past decade, and reliability and user satisfaction are high. Problems are generally limited to installation issues and/or maintenance. You can do your part to ensure that your heat pump runs at peak efficiency through the end of summer — and well into winter — by keeping these performance factors in mind.

Airflow
Heat pump performance depends heavily on sufficient airflow, normally about 400 cubic feet per minute for every BTU ton of capacity. If airflow drops below 350 CFM, performance and efficiency drop. These steps help to keep airflow at the right level:

  • Change the heat pump filter on schedule. Check it every other month or more often during peak cooling season.
  • Verify that air from supply ducts has a clear path to a nearby return register. Closed-off rooms that don’t allow air to circulate back to the returns, along with obstructed returns, reduce airflow in the entire system.
  • Schedule an annual maintenance call to have the evaporator coil cleaned and the blower fan checked for proper speed and air volume.

Ductwork leaks
Leaky ducts can lose up to 30 percent of your conditioned air. Duct leakage in an unconditioned area like the crawl space or the attic degrades efficiency, comfort and air quality. Sometimes home builders don’t make ductwork a priority, because they think buyers pay more attention to style and finishes. Ducts in those homes can develop problems rather easily. Over time, leakage at joints and seams becomes common. An HVAC contractor can pressure-test your ducts to assess leakage and pinpoint the location of leaks for sealing.

Low refrigerant charge

Insufficient refrigerant charge causes coil icing, poor cooling performance and efficiency loss. Because refrigerant also contains vital compressor lubricant, low levels may also cause compressor damage. Proper refrigerant charge should be verified at installation and again after the system has been test-run. Continued low levels require a leak detection procedure by an HVAC technician.

Serving Cincinnati homeowners since 1910, Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing is the trusted source of home comfort and mechnicals. If you have questions about heat pump performance, give us a call at (513) 268-8400.

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- Sarah B.
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