It’s that time of year again—the time of year when we start stressing the importance of air conditioning maintenance. The best time to schedule maintenance is during the spring because HVAC technicians typically have less crowded schedules and they’re responding to fewer emergency calls for urgent heating or cooling repair needs.
If you have a heat pump, chances are (hopefully anyway) you had fall maintenance done to ensure it would function properly through the chilly winter season. Unlike HVAC systems that need maintenance once a year, heat pumps require maintenance twice a year as they are a year-round system. We’ll discuss the importance of bi-annual heat pump maintenance:
HVAC With a Dual Purpose
Because a heat pump serves both a cooling and heating purpose, try to think of it as overall HVAC maintenance. You need that heat pump to be able to handle the extreme weather of ALL seasons, not just cold winters or hot summers.
If a home has a traditional furnace and a separate central air conditioner, technicians schedule one maintenance appointment for each – one for the heater and one for the cooling system.
However, when you have a heat pump, you’re combining your heating and air conditioning in one single unit. Despite being combined, it’s still an HVAC system and it requires a check-up and tune-up TWO times a year.
No Rest for Heat Pumps
Heat pumps are 2-in-1, year-round complete home comfort systems. The same components are used to operate the system whether it’s in heating mode or cooling mode. No matter what, the compressor runs and circulates the refrigerant through two sets of coils, both indoors and outdoors. Cool air is sent through the ventilation system by the blower in the warm months, and warm air is sent in the cold months. A reversing valve switches the direction of the refrigerant making it possible for the heat pump to blow both cold and hot air.
To reiterate, heat pumps are constantly working. They don’t get an off-season. Since your heat pump is working all year long, it must be maintained accordingly to keep it functioning at its peak performance level. Bi-annual maintenance allows technicians to check for problems with the actual HVAC system or any other additional components.
An improperly calibrated thermostat can cause your heat pump to perform inefficiently regardless of the season and the temperature. Damaged ductwork allows cold air or heat to escape into unused parts of the home, resulting in a higher bill without you even being able to feel the cold or warm air.
During bi-annual heat pump maintenance, technicians clean the interior of the system. This is where lots of dust, dirt, debris, and grime tend to build up, which is actually one of the main reasons heat pumps fail to operate efficiently. Cleaning the coils, motors, and other components in the spring is just as important as cleaning them in the fall (or winter and summer if you prefer to wait until peak season).