Heat Pump in Oak Harbor, WA

There are blogs and billboards all over the place to remind you that you need professional HVAC maintenance. But does all maintenance look the same regardless of what kind of system you have in your home? Discover how maintaining a traditional HVAC system differs from a heat pump and whether one requires more than another.

Two-unit Traditional HVAC System

Before we begin talking about the maintenance required on traditional HVAC systems, it’s important to know what we mean. The traditional HVAC system consists of two functions: heating and cooling.

The heating is typically provided by a furnace or boiler. The furnace can be an electric coil or, more commonly, it burns fuel such as natural gas, propane, or heating oil. It then transfers the heat from the exhaust of the burning fuel to the air moving over through the heat exchanger.

The second unit is the cooling unit, also known as the air conditioner. This uses a refrigerant to absorb heat from the air circulating through the system and transfers it to the air outside.

Both of these units will require maintenance to keep them operating efficiently. Regardless of the system you have, the goal is to maintain its efficiency and reduce unexpected breakdowns.

Maintaining a Furnace

Your furnace requires once-yearly maintenance, which ideally happens in the fall. A maintenance technician will focus on cleaning the burner, thermocouple, heat exchanger, and circulating and inducer fans.

Once they complete the cleaning, your technician will commence a series of tests. This includes testing the ignition, testing voltage and current throughout the system, testing the exhaust system, and testing the system controls. During this phase of maintenance, they’ll test a full heating cycle to ensure everything initializes properly. Finally, they’ll test for any gas or carbon monoxide leaks.

The final part of maintenance is inspecting and tightening the system. This includes inspecting the heat exchanger, tightening mounting bolts, balancing the circulating fan wheel, and tightening electrical connections.

Maintaining an Air Conditioner

Air conditioner maintenance is typically conducted in the spring and starts with a similar cleaning to a furnace. This time, however, the focus is on the evaporator coil inside, the condensing coil outside, and the circulating fan.

The testing includes testing the amount of refrigerant, which can decrease efficiency and signify a leak if it’s low. They’ll also test the compressor, the starting capacitor, and the contactor. They’ll inspect both the condensing and evaporator coils. Finally, they’ll test an entire cooling cycle, looking for short cycling, signs of a frozen system, and that everything initializes at the proper time.

Single-unit Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are similar to traditional air conditioners, using a refrigerant to transfer heat. The difference is that heat pumps can both heat and cool your home, transferring heat into and out of your house. To make this happen, it uses a reversing valve to change which coil receives the high pressure from the compressor.

One of the beauties of the single-unit system is that it functions as both your heating and cooling. As such, it reduces the amount of maintenance and repair it needs compared to the traditional system. However, it still requires maintenance if you want it to continue working efficiently and reliably.

Heat Pump Maintenance

Heat pump maintenance is very similar to AC maintenance. Your technician will clean the system, ensure that it’s cycling properly, test the system and refrigerant, and inspect the components.

The big difference here is testing the reversing valve. Even when the weather is cold and you want heat, the reversing valve plays a role. Your system will energize it when it senses the outside coils are getting too cold, which can cause them to frost over. If the reversing valve isn’t working properly, it could prevent the defrost mode from activating.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that both traditional systems and heat pumps require regular maintenance to keep them working properly. Ideally, you’ll have two professional maintenance visits each year. However, you will have more maintenance repairs with a traditional system than with a heat pump simply because there are two different units.

People around Oak Harbor who want dependable heat pump service turn to Island Heating & Air Conditioning. Our expert technicians provide both air conditioning and heating installation, maintenance, and repair together with indoor air quality solutions. Call to schedule your heat pump maintenance with one of our friendly technicians today.



November 20, 2022 10:44 pm