As a traditional gas boiler needs servicing regularly to ensure that it isn’t leaking carbon monoxide, it is also important to have your heat pump serviced. A heat pump uses refrigerant to transfer heat from the ground or air to your home. This needs to be checked in line with manufacturers service instructions.
It is also recommended that your heat pump is serviced to ensure that it’s running efficiently and to improve its lifespan. Your heat pump could lose some efficiency over time, so a properly maintained pump could save you money too.
In some cases, you will need to have your heat pump serviced in order to meet the demands required for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). This incentive involves receiving money from the government for having a renewable energy heating system in your home, such as a ground source or air source heat pump. It might also need annual servicing if you want your warranty to remain valid.
When you have your heat pump serviced, there are a few things that the suitably qualified heating engineer will check. These may differ depending on the type of heat pump you have.
The engineer will make sure that the area around the pump is clear and free of debris. Objects such as leaves can begin to block the filters, so this is an important step to ensure that your appliance can work efficiently. Then they can begin to check the individual parts, such as electrical connections, fan motors and capacitors. The heating engineer will check for any signs of refrigerant leakage and check compressor starts and run times of the heat pump.
The fan blades will be cleaned, as will any filters that are blocked or dirty. If the filters are too blocked, they may need to be replaced.
Modern heat pumps could last as long as 20 to 25 years. Although the initial cost can be considerably more than a gas boiler, their longevity and the money you can make back on the RHI scheme makes this additional cost worthwhile.
Moving parts such as a compressor could become worn out over time. This can’t be helped. If this occurs, you may want to consider the cost of a new compressor versus the cost of a new heat pump that could continue to work for another 20 to 25 years. Heat pump manufacturers provide warranties and you may be able to have parts replaced for free. You should check the details with the manufacturer.
If your heat pump isn’t providing any heat to your home, there may be a few things you can check yourself before calling out a suitably qualified engineer.
Some basic checks would be to ensure that the power is on and increase the room temperature by a couple of degrees. Doing this might kick start the pump into producing additional heat.
During winter the outdoor unit on an air source heat pump could become iced over. The ice may prevent the transfer of heat between the refrigerant and the air. Your pump should have a defrost setting that gradually melts the ice. Alternatively, it could be just be a blocked grill which means the refrigerant is not heated effectively. You may need to have an engineer check the pump for anything more complicated.
Check that it is on heating mode as some heat pumps have an air conditioning option and it may accidentally have been turned on.
If your heat pump is on heat mode, the system still has problems, you shouldn’t try to get the heat pump working yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing. Instead, call a qualified engineer who will be able to look at the heat pump for you.