When to service heat pump?

Joined
Jan 24, 2007
Messages
450
Location
LBP
My parents upgraded their heating system 6 years ago to a dual energy system (oil/Electric-heat pump). They are looking to get a new service contract from where they purchase heating oil from. They've always had an annual service contract that covered cleaning and maintenance of the oil burners on the furnace and the water heater, but they've never had the heat pump checked. This is their first heat pump so my dad is not sure what type of service these units require or how often they need to be looked at. It is the primary heat source during the winter months, and the A/C part is barely used during the summer. It was turned on maybe less than 10 times between May and September. For people who have a heat pump how often to you get them serviced?
 
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Joined
Sep 19, 2008
Messages
2,594
Location
Pennsylvania
I have had two outside AC/heat pump units. I had them serviced every year. The technician would check the Freon pressure (in one unit there was a very slow leak that he found after a year and fixed), vacuum out the outside unit to keep it free of leaves and debris and check the indoor heat exchanger making sure the condensate drains were working (BIG mess if they get clogged with slime mold), the filters were new and the overall unit running to specs. A good annual go over is well worth the money and he should get someone in now to look at things.
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2003
Messages
3,463
Location
Coastal South Carolina
depends on the techs, I have seen them do good but I wonder if u sent 10 techs to the same heat pump 4 would say its overcharged, 4 undercharged, 2 leave it alone. human nature is to tinker with it. Thank goodness they don't do yearly checkups on refrigerators??!!
 
Joined
Mar 4, 2010
Messages
214
Location
WA
You can do all this yourself. Get a set of R410/R22 gauge hose and manifold set for about $80 and you can check the pressures. The cleaning of the outdoor and indoor coils is as easy as filling up a $10 bug sprayer with water and simple green, spraying it down, waiting a few minutes (don't let it dry!), and then rinsing off with water. The plaque of the outdoor unit should list the pressures you should see on the high and low side with the gauges. Then run it in both heating and cooling mode to make sure the reversing valve is operating correctly. If your pressure is low you can have someone come out to add more refrigerant for you. Lastly check the motor run capacitor and make sure it isn't leaking. If it is more than 5 years old I would replace it as they tend to wear out. All you have to do is match the capacity in Farads for the fan motor and the compressor motor to the old capacitor. Zoro tools or Grainger are both good suppliers of capacitors. Do all that and you're set!
 
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Joined
Mar 24, 2004
Messages
95
Location
minnesota
Around here we use ground source heat pumps that use our well water as heat source, not the outside air. With either 'pump and dump' or 'slinky' system, there is no outside unit at all. the A/C runs off the cold water being circulated in summer, in winter the heat from the water is grabbed and boosted by a compressor. We've had 4 ground source pumps in 4 homes over the last 30 years, rarely any maintenance other than oil the fan motor and keep a check of freon level in the compressor, all inside work too. Pretty flawless. Around here the 'air source' pumps quit working when our temps get to 20 degrees or less, then they pull heat off the elec. back up elements and they are very expensive to run. Our biggest home was a rambler, 2400 s.f with heated basement floor and heated 3 car garage floor using Wirsbo tubing off the heat pump. Worst heating season cost was $1200 (yes for the whole season in Minnesota). Ground source off the water well is the cheapest way to heat if you have a good water well.
 

hpb

Joined
Aug 28, 2014
Messages
1,642
Location
Tasmania, Australia
I'm going to put a curse on myself by saying this, but...our heatpump is used all year round, and has NEVER been serviced since it was installed 12 years ago. I clean the filters on the inside unit probably 4 times a year, and a couple of times I've pulled it as far apart as I can to vacuum all the dust out. Fujitsu brand, well regarded in Oz. I'm definitely in the "If it ain't broke, don't (pay someone to) fix it" camp!
 
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