Tips And Tricks To Keep Your Heat Pump Up And Running For Years to Come

5 of the most helpful tips and tricks for keeping your heat pump healthy for years to come.


You just bought a new heat pump, your install technician has gone over how to set schedules, change the temperature, etc…


But how can you make sure you are keeping your new heat pump in the best condition possible and ensure your system has a long life span?


Most people, especially those who have never worked in or around HVAC systems simply assume that unless something breaks nothing has to be done.


Unfortunately though, that is just not the case.


Since we started this business in 2004 we have seen countless systems break down years before their expected lifespan has run its course simply because they were not maintained properly.


So, what can you do to ensure that your unit has a long and useful lifetime after it is installed?


Honestly it’s fairly simple, just some occasional upkeep but it will go a long way in keeping your system healthy for years to come. 

What type of upkeep are we talking about?


The 5 most important things you can do to keep your unit up and running are changing the filters regularly, keeping the air vents open, making sure there is plenty of clearance around the indoor and outdoor unit, regulating the temperature of your home and making sure to have regular maintenance done. 


It may seem like a lot at first, but most of these things only have to be done once every couple months to a year. 


With that, let’s go ahead and take an in depth look at each of these items individually and provide you with the knowledge needed to ensure success with your new heating system.


How to change your air filters and why is it important?


If you have just had a new heating system installed chances are the technician made a point to stress how important it is to change your filters regularly.


But how do you go about changing your filters and why is it so important?


Changing your filters can be different depending on the type of unit you have installed but in most cases it is pretty much the same. 

(Ex.1 HVAC filters before and after use)


For most systems filters will look like the above picture, the clean one that is. The filter on the right is a perfect example of what you do not want. 


It may seem obvious considering they are literally called “filters” but over time these filters will begin to fill with dust, causing your air quality within the home to deteriorate and put more stress on your unit. 


For this reason it is important to change your filters regularly.


We recommend changing your filters at least once every 3 months.


Now as we previously pointed out not all systems have the same type of filters so let’s take a look at the other most common type of filter used today.

(Ex.2 Mitsubishi mini-split filters)


The filters shown above are the second most common type of filters we see today and these are used in ductless mini-split systems.


The dark blue mesh is the main part of the filter that catches the dust and the lighter blue bars are allergen filters that just clip to the main portion. 


These filters are reusable and made to last about 10 years so all one needs to do to clean these is simply wash them off with running water, let them dry and reinstall them back into the unit. 


Now before you go and start taking your unit apart looking for filters or how to change them make sure you talk to your local HVAC company and ask for their help, they will be able to guide you and make sure that you are able to easily replace and/ or clean your filters going forward.


Why is it good practice to keep my air vents open?


Another one of the most important aspects of keeping your HVAC system in good condition is keeping your vents open. 


But why is that?


Keeping your air vents open is important because it lets the air circulated by your heating system flow freely throughout the home.


If the vents are left closed the heat pump still produces the same amount of air but instead of flowing throughout the home it actually backs up and can put excess stress on the parts within the system as the pressure from the excess air builds.


It is a common misconception that closing your air vents leads to lower power bills but again the air is still being produced by the unit so it will not lower your power bill it will only cause problems for your unit.


So make sure you are keeping your air vents open and allowing the air to circulate freely throughout the home.


What does keeping plenty of clearance around my unit do to lengthen its lifespan?


If you are like most people once you have your heating system installed you don’t really think about it much, the indoor unit goes either on the wall or in a closet you don’t use often and the outdoor unit just does its thing outside.


Which is completely fine, but making sure that the immediate area around your system is clear is very important.


Now this is more of a problem for outdoor units then indoor but it can go both ways. 


Keeping a clear area around your indoor unit is important so that when you have maintenance or service done by technicians they can easily access the system. 


But for the outdoor unit this is of the utmost importance. 


Outdoor units aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing thing to look at, don’t get us wrong, but putting them behind a bush or something else to make it so they are less visible is one of the worst things you can do.


A good rule of thumb is to have at least a foot of clearance around your unit in all directions.


By letting things like bushes or debris such as a dryer vent lint and things of that nature be in close proximity, overtime the system will suck those things up which can lead to serious issues.


When things are sucked into a system they can cake the coil of the outdoor unit leading to the system being less efficient.


Along with that if debris is sucked into your outdoor unit this can lead to cracks in the bottom of your unit as the system cannot defrost correctly. 


So make sure you are keeping plenty of clearance around your outdoor unit and you are occasionally checking that debris has not gotten inside of the system.


How does regulating the temperature of my home make my system last longer?


This may seem a little intuitive but you would be surprised how many people are not aware that keeping your temperature the same everyday helps to lower your power bill.


By regulating the temperature of your home at a consistent temperature your system will run less over time.


In doing so this will lead to less wear on the parts within over the years, helping to extend the lifespan of the system itself.


On top of this each system comes with an optimal temperature that your unit will run the most efficiently at.


So if you leave your system at that optimal temperature all the time not only will it run less often but in turn it will lead to a longer life for your system.


With that said systems can have different optimal temperatures so make sure to ask your HVAC technician what the optimal temperature for your heat pump is the next time they are at your home. 


What does regular maintenance do to lengthen the life of my heating system?


After having a heat pump installed almost every HVAC company will make sure you are aware of how important regular maintenance is for your system.


But why are they so important?


Making sure to have regular maintenance done for your HVAC system is important for a couple reasons.


One, it helps to make sure that your unit stays nice and clean so dust does not have the opportunity to build up, putting excess wear on the parts within the unit and making your filters clog up quicker.


The other reason that having regular maintenance is important is because it allows a licensed technician to go in and look at the system and find any small issues that may arise over time before they become bigger, more expensive issues.


From time to time little issues will arise within a unit that are not immediately a huge problem but if given time to fester these little issues can lead to bigger problems that can lead to your unit breaking down.


And by having a licensed technician taking a look at your system every so often these problems can be largely avoided. 


Other helpful tips to keep your heating system running efficiently and effectively.


Now that we have gone over the most important things you can do to make sure your new heat pump has a long and effective lifespan, let’s take a look at a few of the smaller things you can do.


One thing that many people do not think about after their heat pump is installed is keeping the batteries in their thermostat up to date.


Some thermostats are hardwired into your home and do not need batteries so this won’t apply to everyone but many thermostats do need batteries and it is recommended to change them at least once every 6 months.


Another thing you can do to make sure that your unit doesn’t have to work harder than it should is sealing your home from incoming drafts.


If your home has incoming drafts from under doors, windows, anything like that it will lower the temperature on the inside of your home causing your heat pump to work harder and try to make up that difference, leading to excess stress on your unit. 


And lastly it is important to have your ducts checked from time to time. If you are unfamiliar, ducting is the variable sized tubing run throughout your home that directs the heated and cooled air the heat pump produces.


As you can imagine over time these ducts can become clogged or backed up with dust and overtime not only will this lead to lower air quality but can also lead to a buildup of pressure inside your unit as the air being produced can not flow freely.


Getting the most out of your heat pump.


Now that we have taken a look at some of the recommended ways to make sure your heat pump stays healthy, hopefully you have a better idea of what you need to do in order to make your system last as long as possible.


If you have questions as most people do, the best way to learn more about this subject is to call your local HVAC company and ask what they recommend in terms of how often things should be changed, cleaned, and maintained.


After 19 years in this business we have seen both sides of this coin and one thing that is constant is the people that keep up on making sure their system is clean and working properly almost always get more out of their unit then the people that just set it and forget it.


So the next time you talk to your local HVAC company or when you are getting your new system installed make sure to ask as many questions as you can so you can be set up for long term success!